Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: July 11, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy: Tarah Kesterson,

Governor Northam Announces Installation of New Solar Facility at Virginia Department of Forestry

New solar project will offset 16 percent of building’s energy needs

CHARLOTTESVILLE—Governor Northam today announced the installation of a new 120 kilowatt rooftop solar facility at the Virginia Department of Forestry’s (VDOF) headquarters that will offset energy usage and energy costs for the agency. Governor Northam made the announcement at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the project that was held at the building located in Charlottesville.

“The Virginia Department of Forestry project is truly an innovative model that will enable our state agencies to produce clean energy on-site while reducing their utility bills,” said Governor Northam. “As the demand for renewable energy increases, investments like this are important for our Commonwealth because they spur economic development and help to expand job opportunities in the fast-growing solar industry.”

“Reducing energy costs while making strides toward achieving the Governor’s renewable energy goals makes sense not only for the environment and host agencies, but for the taxpayers of Virginia,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring.  

This project is one of five state agency projects that have received support through Virginia’s lead-by-example solar initiative. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) has worked with state agencies to identify ways they can install solar facilities on their properties, and is administering the project.

“VDOF believes in leading by example, and we live this at our headquarters, the Garner Building in Charlottesville,” said State Forester Rob Farrell. “Our grounds provide a classroom for teaching proper tree care, as well as providing wildlife habitat, pollinator gardens, and a seedling nursery. Hosting this solar project is a natural extension of our commitment to sustainability and we are proud to be a part of the Governor’s solar initiative.”

“These projects can pave the way for more commercial and private renewable energy development in Virginia,” said DMME Director John Warren. “Our agency focuses on conserving energy and supporting a productive economy and these solar installations accomplish both goals.”

The installation was funded using remaining dollars received from the U.S. Department of Energy under President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Sun Tribe Solar, a solar energy development company based out of Charlottesville, installed the system in Charlottesville.

“As a Virginia-based company, we’re proud of the fact that the Commonwealth is embracing a 21st century economy built on the foundation of clean, affordable energy,” said Devin Welch, Chief Strategy Officer of Sun Tribe Solar. “This project is proof that partners in both the public and private sectors are seeing the benefits of using solar to power Virginia’s growth.”

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