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Virginia, Dominion Power & Microsoft Team Up on Solar Deal

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You may buy power each month from Dominion to run your home, and the state of Virginia does the same thing. Now, Virginia is purchasing its first bit of renewable power -- from a soon-to-be-built 125-acre solar field in Northern Virginia’s Faquier County. 

The deal, announced by Governor Terry McAuliffe, throws together what might seem unlikely partners.

“This project fulfills the goals of Dominion, Microsoft, and the Commonwealth,” said McAuliffe during the announcement Wednesday. “To place more zero carbon-emitting solar energy into service into Virginia to displace energy that would otherwise come from fossil fuel generation.”

Microsoft, which has one of its largest data centers in southside Virginia, will subsidize the price of solar, so it won’t cost the state any more than coal or natural gas would.

In return, Microsoft gets the renewable energy credit, known as a ‘REC’, for supporting green energy. It’s a commodity that helps the company meet its clean energy goals -- explains Jim Hanna of Microsoft.

“Alternative energy, renewable energy, have a premium associated with them,” said Hanna. "But, companies that are making this 100-percent commitment to renewable energy for business reasons are absolutely willing to pay that.”

When done, the solar field will produce enough energy to power 5,000 homes -- still only a fraction of a percentage of the state’s overall power use.  

The largest planned solar farm in Virginia is backed by Tech Giant Amazon, it will be an 80-megawatt system in Accomack County. 

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