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Letter — Support for Red Brick Solar project

To the Editor:

I’m writing to voice my support for the Red Brick Solar project.

The Red Brick Solar project will provide Lunenburg County substantial, steady and guaranteed revenue — with a nearly twentyfold increase in local tax revenues. In addition to the hundreds of jobs it will create, local landowners will also benefit from the increased value the project provides for their land, and local businesses will benefit from the development and construction of this project.

Historically, Virginia has lagged behind other Eastern states in solar development, with many solar jobs going to out-of-state workers. Noting this dynamic, SHINE’s founders came together in 2018 to identify ways of ensuring that more solar jobs and their economic benefits go to the communities where the work is being done. What came from this discussion was a strategic, collaborative approach — to launch SHINE as a vehicle for preparing Virginians to compete for career-launching jobs in the rapidly growing solar field, enriching our communities and ensuring they reap the long-term economic benefits of solar’s unheralded growth. Projects like Red Brick Solar will ensure those benefits for Lunenburg County and help Virginia stay competitive.

Currently ranked 18th in the country by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Virginia generates 1.03% of its total electricity needs from solar resources. Owing to a number of factors — significant declines in solar production costs and passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act among them — the Commonwealth’s solar power output is expected to increase significantly over the next five years. At SHINE we estimate that 3-5 gigawatts of solar capacity (enough, on average, to power 950,000 homes) will come online over the state in the next few years, generating tens of thousands of career-building jobs, many of which could go to residents of Lunenburg County.

Lunenburg County has the opportunity to benefit from this wave of growth and the good-paying jobs, millions in economic impact and nearly $200k/year in county tax revenue that comes along with it.

David J. Peterson

Executive Director

SHINE – Solar Hands-On Instructional Network of Excellence