Arlington, VA

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

The Arlington County Board approved a partnership with Dominion Energy Virginia to purchase power from a new solar farm in southern Virginia.

The facility is expected to generate more than 80 percent of the electricity used annually for all County buildings, streetlights, traffic signals, water pumping and wastewater treatment.

Exactly how much solar does it take to do this? The solar farm will be about 475 acres!

Try this new calculator to compare how big Arlington’s portion of the solar farm will be compared to your civic association. Douglas Park is the closest civic association in size to the solar farm.

The agreement will not require any capital funding or upfront costs from the County. The project will have no impact on customer rates.

Interested in solar for your home or business?  Email us at [email protected] and we’ll let you know when the next solar co-op launches.

A very special thank you to Michele and Mathias Hansen at the Arlington-Based Geocodio for helping to make this microsite possible!

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Morning Notes

It’s ARLnow’s 10th Anniversary — On this day 10 years ago ARLnow quietly published its first article. It has since grown to be Arlington’s local news publication of record, read by a majority of those who call our county home. Join us to celebrate this milestone tonight at Bronson Bierhall in Ballston (4100 Fairfax Drive) from 5-7 p.m. [Facebook]

County Board Approves Solar Farm Deal — “‘This is a groundbreaking partnership for the County,’ said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. ‘It will take us a long way toward our goal of 100 percent use of renewable sources for all electricity used in government operations by 2025.’ Arlington County is the first locality in the Commonwealth to enter into a power purchase agreement of this scale for off-site solar energy with an investor-owned utility company.” [Arlington County, Dominion Energy]

Local Pharmacies Selling Out of Surgical Masks — Preston’s Pharmacy at 5101 Lee Highway is sold out of surgical masks amid worries about the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The store “reported that people are calling, and coming in asking about surgical masks… they are having re-ordering issues from their supplier.” [WUSA 9]

Investors Buying Up Crystal City Properties — “In another indicator of how sought-after the real estate near Amazon’s HQ2 has become, even an NBA player with no ties to Greater Washington is an investor in the Crystal City market. Jeff Teague, a point guard for the Atlanta Hawks, bought a 935-square-foot apartment at 1200 Crystal Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

Home Sales Way Down in Arlington — “Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. reports the median price of a home that sold in Arlington County in December was $649,000. That’s up 19% from the median selling price a year earlier. The number of sales in Arlington County was down 24% from a year ago, and, with only 148 homes on the market last month, active inventory was down 51%.” [WTOP]

Another Title for Local Girls Flag Football Team — “Congratulations to the [Arlington-based] Virginia Hurricanes 14U girls flag football team for winning the NFL Flag Football National Championship tournament at the NFL Pro Bowl event in Florida this past weekend. This is the second NFL Flag Girls National Championship title for the Hurricanes.” [Virginia Hurricanes]

Chamber Holds Hospitality Awards — “The Arlington Chamber of Commerce today honored 98 front-line workers in Arlington’s hospitality industry at the 16th Annual Hospitality Awards at the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel. These prestigious awards are presented each year to hospitality workers who deliver outstanding customer service, exhibit excellence in their roles, and continuously exceed their job descriptions.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]

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Arlington County is set to take a big step toward meeting some of its ambitious renewable energy goals.

The county, which is working to become carbon-neutral by 2050, is joining Amazon in purchasing power from a new solar array in rural Virginia. The County Board is set to vote tonight on purchasing 31.7 percent of the output of a planned, 120 megawatt facility — dubbed the “Amazon Arlington Solar Farm Virginia” — in Pittsylvania County.

“The proposed agreement would support construction of a significant solar electricity-generating installation on tree-less rural land,” says a county staff report. “Dominion Energy Virginia (DEV) acquired the project from Open Road Renewables, and the project has all necessary local permits… After construction is completed, the project is scheduled to produce electricity beginning in 2022.”

Amazon will purchase the rest of remainder of the solar farm’s output, helping it to meet its renewable energy goals for HQ2.

More from the county staff report:

Arlington will purchase 31.7 percent of the energy produced by the solar farm, or about 79 million kWh annually. In a separate transaction, Amazon is purchasing 68.3 percent of the energy produced. The broad scope of Arlington County government operations – buildings, streetlights, traffic signals, water pumping and wastewater treatment – consumes about 95 million kWh per year. Thus, the energy production purchased by the County from this project represents approximately 83 percent of the total amount of electricity used by County government each year.

The outcome of this agreement advances key Arlington County policy goals. On September 21, 2019, the Arlington County Board adopted a revised Community Energy Plan (CEP) as one of eleven elements of the Comprehensive Plan. Goal 3 of that Plan is to Increase Arlington’s Renewable Energy Resources, and Policy 3.1 states “Government operations will achieve 50% Renewable Electricity by 2022, and 100% Renewable Electricity by 2025.

This power purchase agreement would not only surpass the County government 2022 renewable electricity milestone, but also substantially satisfies the 2025 goal of 100 percent renewable electricity for County operations. Closing the remaining gap (less than 20 percent of our electricity use) will involve a combination of onsite solar installations, reduction in electricity needs through energy efficiency, and perhaps a supplemental agreement for additional offsite renewable energy.

There will be no upfront costs for the county and county staff expects the solar power to be no more expensive than the county’s existing electricity, thanks to some of the power generated by the solar farm being sold wholesale into the electrical grid. Staff says there’s a possibility, depending on market dynamics, that the solar power could be up to $100,000 more or less expensive annually.

“Staff confidence in the financial prudence of this agreement is based on due diligence performed in terms of understanding the wholesale power market in general (and in Virginia in particular); consideration of key factors affecting future wholesale power prices; and the use of an analysis of wholesale price projections for Virginia from a third-party expert,” the staff report says.

The Board is expected to approve the agreement with Dominion Energy at its Tuesday night meeting.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

Nothing motivates like a deadline, right?  If you’ve been thinking about solar, today is the time to act.

Act now to join the Arlington Solar and EV Co-op before the end of tomorrow (November, 30). 

Homeowners don’t need to purchase a solar system or electric vehicle charger by November 30. Rather, this deadline is to sign up for a no-cost and no-obligation solar assessment of your home. Meeting the deadline also guarantees that you can purchase solar at the discount offered only to the co-op members by the installer.

Get started by providing some basic information on the Solar United Neighbors website. Folks interested in solar will receive a no-obligation roof screening and project proposal.

The Federal tax credit is gradually phasing out between now and 2022. Next year, the solar tax credit will be reduced to 26 percent. In 2021, it will be 22 percent and in 2022 and beyond, per the existing legislation, it will no longer be available to homeowners.

More than 160 Arlington  homeowners have previously installed solar in our Solar and Electric Vehicle Co-op. The cooperative helps Arlingtonians buy solar and EV chargers at a discounted price. The cooperative also provides support to participants to make the purchasing process easy.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

Nothing motivates like a deadline, right? If you’ve been thinking about solar, now is the time to act.

Act now to join the Arlington Solar and EV Co-op before the November 30 deadline.

Homeowners don’t need to purchase a solar system or electric vehicle charger by November 30. Rather, this deadline is to sign up for a no-cost and no-obligation solar assessment of your home. Meeting the deadline also guarantees that you can purchase solar at the discount offered only to the co-op members by the installer.

Get started by providing some basic information on the Solar United Neighbors website. Folks interested in solar will receive a no-obligation roof screening and project proposal.

The Federal tax credit is gradually phasing out between now and 2022. Next year, the solar tax credit will be reduced to 26 percent. In 2021, it will be 22 percent and in 2022 and beyond, per the existing legislation, it will no longer be available to homeowners.

More than 160 Arlington homeowners have previously installed solar in our Solar and Electric Vehicle Co-op. The cooperative helps Arlingtonians buy solar and EV chargers at a discounted price. The cooperative also provides support to participants to make the purchasing process easy.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

The 2019 National Solar Tour is THIS WEEKEND — October 5 & 6.

This weekend is a fantastic opportunity to visit one of the 850+ solar open houses and 79 local solar tours across the country!

  • See solar installations on different homes
  • Ask homeowners questions about how their solar systems work
  • Learn why people in your community made the choice to go solar
  • Connect with other people in your community who support solar energy!

There’s still time to find and RSVP for solar homes in and around Arlington.

Already RSVP’ed? Invite a friend, colleague or family member to join you! The more people who learn about the benefits of solar power, the better!

The National Solar Tour is free and open to the public — Everyone is welcome to attend. Whether you are a solar owner, completely new to solar, or somewhere in between — this event is for you. Visit one or several. Stop by for a few minutes or stay for awhile!

Arlington Solar and EV Charger Co-op Happy Hour — October 22

Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill, 5:30-8 p.m.

RSVP for the 10/22 Solar Co-op Happy TODAY!

Join us for a free meet up to learn about solar technology, how our co-op model simplifies the process, and how going solar can save you money.

Solar has never been easier or cheaper to install. The tax credit is gradually phasing out between now and 2022. Next year, the solar tax credit will be reduced to 26 percent. In 2021, it will be 22 percent in 2022 and beyond, it won’t be available for homeowners at all. If you’ve been thinking about solar, now is the time to take action.

You don’t need to attend the event to participate in the co-op. Visit the website and click “Join Our Co-op” by November 30, for a no-cost and no-obligation solar assessment of your home.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

The July 4th holiday is a great time to relax, reflect and rethink energy.

Arlingtonians have more options than ever to declare their independence from high energy use this summer, and to save money all year.

Mark your calendar now for the upcoming Solar Co-op + EV Charger info session on July 24. To date, more than 150 Arlington families have installed solar with the Arlington Solar Co-op.

Here are a few of our previous posts that will save you money:

Enjoy the holiday, stay safe, thanks for all you do to save energy in Arlington, and mark your calendar to join us for the upcoming Solar info session on July 24!

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Morning Notes

Auditor Looking at Economic Development Funds — “Are economic-incentive funds provided to corporations by the Arlington County government being doled out in accordance with agreements? The county government’s auditor is going to take a look… The audit, already under way, will look only at whether terms of agreements are being complied with; overall effectiveness of the sometimes controversial economic-incentive policy ‘is not part of the scope.'” [InsideNova]

Suspicious Letter at Fort Myer — “Joint Base Myer Henderson-Hall police and other agencies investigated a suspicious letter this afternoon that was delivered on the Fort Myer portion of the joint base. It was determined to not have any dangerous substance on or in it.” [Twitter]

Lauding Arlington’s Retiring Election Chief — “As her tenure as director of elections approaches its end, Linda Lindberg on June 18 was honored by Arlington County Board members for her service. Lindberg — who has served in Arlington’s elections office since 1994 and has been registrar since 2003 — has delivered ‘an outstanding career of public service,’ County Board Chairman Christian Dorsey said during a ceremony marking her tenure.” [InsideNova]

Arts Group Applauds Arts Plan — “Embracing Arlington Arts – an independent citizens group comprised of Arlington arts supporters – applauds the County Board for formally adopting Arlington’s Strategic Plan for the arts – “Enriching Lives” at their Board meeting [on] June 18. This well-researched plan brought together arts professionals, experts, stakeholders and citizens in its development.” [Press Release]

Arlington Developer Plans Senior Projects — “A multifamily developer is making a $200 million senior living play, with five such projects coming together under the company’s new Aspire brand, and potentially more on the way in the Mid-Atlantic. Arlington, Virginia-based Bonaventure has communities under construction or development across the commonwealth, in Alexandria, Woodbridge, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Richmond.” [Senior Housing News]

New Solar Co-op — “Neighbors in Arlington County (including Alexandria… and Fairfax County) have formed a solar co-op to save money and make going solar easier, with the help of nonprofit Solar United Neighbors. Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy, EcoAction Arlington, and Virginia Clean Cities are sponsoring the co-op.” [Press Release]

Arlington Tech Co. Gets New CEO — Rosslyn-based Snag, “the country’s largest and fastest-growing platform for hourly work, announced today new changes to its executive leadership team. Mathieu Stevenson has been appointed Chief Executive Officer… Stevenson will lead the company forward, with Rosati’s active involvement, to realize Snag’s mission of revolutionizing how hourly workers and employers connect.” [Snag]

Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin

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Climate change reports and impacts are serious.

While global leaders differ on what to do, homeowners in the U.S. are taking advantage of the last big solar federal tax credit to act. You can too.

If you’ve been thinking about solar, now is the time to take action.

The tax credit is gradually phasing out between now and 2022. Next year, the solar tax credit will be reduced to 26 percent. In 2021, it will be 22 percent and in 2022 and beyond, it won’t be available for homeowners at all.

More than 160 homeowners have participated in our Solar and Electric Vehicle Co-op. The cooperative helps Arlingtonians buy solar and EV chargers at a discounted price. The cooperative also provides support to participants to make the purchasing process easy.

Get started by providing some basic information on the website. Folks interested in solar will receive a no-obligation roof screening.

Attend an info session to ask questions, get answers and learn about the process:

  • Thursday, June 27
    6:30 p.m.
    Arlington Central Library
    1015 N. Quincy Street
    Click here to RSVP
  • Wednesday, July 24
    7:30 p.m.
    Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church
    2700 South 19th Street
    Click here to RSVP
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Arlington is looking for public input on a plan to use energy more efficiently.

Tonight (June 4) from 7-9 p.m. at the Central Library Auditorium (1015 N Quincy Street), county staff plan to host an open house during which the community can ask questions or offer feedback on an update to the county’s Community Energy Plan (CEP).

Goals for the project include:

  • Increase the energy and operational efficiency of all buildings: By 2050, the plan aims to have total building energy usage in Arlington be 38 percent lower than in 2007. In the report, staff says both code-required reductions for buildings and incentives for voluntary efficiencies — a carrot and stick approach — will be required.
  • Ensure Arlington’s energy resilience: The report notes — and anyone in Ballston two weeks ago can confirm — Arlington’s energy infrastructure is vulnerable to extreme weather and other factors. The report says Arlington will need to use new technologies to rely on more local sources of energy and potentially establish “microgrids” to make critical pieces of infrastructure like Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and the Virginia Hospital Center more independent from blackouts across the county.
  • Increase locally generated energy supply: The plan aims to have Arlington County follow the example of Discovery Elementary, which won accolades for using all its energy generated on-site, and establish more solar energy collectors and other green energy sites across Arlington.
  • Move more people with fewer greenhouse gas emissions: The goal here is fairly self-explanatory, but the general idea is to get more Arlingtonians using buses, bicycles, and other non-car means of transportation, while encouraging those who are required to use cars to shift toward hybrid and energy-efficient vehicles.
  • Integrate energy goals into all county government activities: The report says Arlington should aim at having government facilities reduce CO2 emissions to 71 percent below their 2007 levels by 2040. The approach would involve a mix of smaller efficiencies in energy and water usage and larger shifts in making new government facilities more energy efficient from a design standpoint.
  • Support residents and businesses that reduce energy usage: The final goal of the report involves using county staff and resources to help encourage locals — from individuals to business owners — find ways to rethink energy usage in their own lives.

“We invite the community to drop in and spend as much time as needed to learn about the draft CEP update, CEP implementation details, and provide feedback on the proposed changes to the 2013 CEP,” Rich Dooley, Arlington’s community energy coordinator, said in an email.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

Congratulations to Our Lady Queen of Peace for installing 319 solar panels to harness the sun and reduce their carbon emissions!

They are thinking globally while acting locally with what is now the largest solar array at a place of worship in Arlington County.

Actions like this continue to shine a light on how one simple action can inspire others and contribute to a broader collective impact. This project adds 95 kilowatts of solar power to help move our community a bit closer to Arlington’s Community Energy Plan goals.

Arlington residential, commercial and County governmental solar installations are adding up.  Since 2009 solar capacity in Arlington has increased by more than 900%.

To date, the total amount of solar in Arlington is 1.8 MW. Arlington’s current Community Energy Plan goal is 160 MW by 2050. Every installation helps our us move the (sun) dial on solar.

The Rethink Energy Program’s Solar Co-op has supported more than 150 homeowners to install solar at a discount. Co-op installations, in addition to County Government and Arlington Public Schools solar installations, account for much of the solar growth in Arlington.

The Rethink Energy Program plans to launch another Solar + EV Charging Co-op this summer. If you want to be notified when the program launches please email: [email protected]

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