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Morrisville, NC, United States, 2010/04/09 - SEM partners with the city of Danville to install the City's first solar array, which will start generating clean energy today at a public "flip the switch" event with Virginia Congressman Tom Perriello.
The city of Danville is looking to the skies to bring power to Virginia. City planners partnered with Southern Energy Management (SEM) to put more than 150 solar photovoltaic panels on the city-owned Community Market building, which will start generating clean energy today after being "switched on" at a kick-off celebration at noon. Virginia Congressman Tom Perriello will speak at the event, which is open to the public.
“The opportunity to promote sustainable energy while generating clean electricity is a win-win for us,” Danville City Manager Joe King said. “This project has been a great opportunity for us to learn and show how renewable energy can be a vital part of the bigger sustainability puzzle. It also enabled us to demonstrate what makes Danville so unique - and that's our ability to maintain our small-town charm and quality of life while also staying at the forefront of innovation and technology.”
The 154 solar panels will generate an estimated 43.4 megawatt hours per year, meaning Danville will have one of the largest solar arrays in Virginia. After the "throw the switch" event today, electricity from the new system, which sits atop the distinctive red metal roof of the Community Market building, will start feeding directly into Danville Utilities' grid, where it will supplement the utility's purchased power and be available for use by utility customers.
In addition to the clean energy the system will produce, King said the City wanted the pilot project displayed in a highly visible location to raise awareness about solar energy, and also to help promote the City's other efforts to integrate smarter energy choices and reduce the City's environmental impact.
“I grew up in Virginia, so I’m especially thrilled to partner with Danville and the Utilities Commission on this project, which we see as a great opportunity to educate people all around the region about the possibilities and benefits of harnessing solar energy,” SEM co-founder Maria Kingery said. “Solar energy is one of the most reliable forms of renewable energy around, and we're excited we're able to help cities like Danville move their sustainable energy initiatives forward to benefit all residents of Virginia and the Southeast.”
With the panels up and running, Danville will help offset almost 34.4 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year – the same amount generated by using 3,500 gallons of gasoline.
Danville funded the project with a $202,000 grant received as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The City also hopes to gain additional funding in the future for solar panels on other city buildings, including schools.
In addition to partnering with the City of Danville, SEM currently has several other significant solar projects underway across Virginia, including two 30-kilowatt solar installations at NASA and a one-megawatt solar array with a private university. In the past year, SEM also has performed air barrier performance testing for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at several Virginia Army bases to ensure new construction meets or exceeds energy efficiency and indoor air quality standards.
About Southern Energy Management
Southern Energy Management (southern-energy.com) is a North Carolina-based sustainable energy company offering energy efficiency, green building and turn‐key solar services for homeowners, builders, companies, government and military clients across the Southeast. A certified B Corp, SEM's mission is to have a measurable impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, and to build a sustainable triple‐bottom‐line company. SEM was founded in a living room in Raleigh in 2001, and now employs a team of about 60 sustainable energy professionals working from offices in Morrisville, Charlotte and Greenville, S.C. SEM is consistently recognized as an industry leader both locally and nationally, and is among a small handful of companies in the U.S. to earn the National Energy Star Partner of the Year award four times (in 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010). SEM also received the 2009 City of Raleigh Market Transformation Award.
About Danville Utilities
Danville Utilities (danville-va.gov) provides power for the city of Danville and the rest of Southern Virginia. The commission is proud to be part of Danville’s economic development/green jobs initiative.