Our State Legislature’s Role in a Clean Energy Future

By |2019-05-29T12:57:32-04:00May 29th, 2019|Company Update, Industry, Land Use, Policy, Virginia Solar|

A Panel Presentation Recap from the 2019 Tom Tom Summit and Festival by Francis Hodsoll and Melody S. Gee Melody S. Gee is a business and technical writer in St. Louis, MO. This April, SolUnesco CEO, Francis Hodsoll, moderated and presented on a panel at the Tom Tom Summit and Festival in Charlottesville. This annual event brings together a diverse group of thought leaders to discuss a revitalized approach to civic life and community, and this year devoted an entire

Best Practices for Utility-Scale Solar Decommissioning in Virginia Pt. 2

By |2019-04-25T11:56:12-04:00April 25th, 2019|Company Update, Industry, Land Use, Policy, Virginia Solar|

by Lea Maamari and Melody S. Gee Melody S. Gee is a business and technical writer in St. Louis, MO. On March 27, SolUnesco president Jon Hillis presented at the 2019 Environment Virginia Symposium. Speaking to other industry and environmental leaders, Jon covered the evolving nature of Virginia counties’ requirements imposed on solar electric generation facilities as part of their permitting process.  Jon generally focused on the decommissioning requirements placed by the counties on these solar facilities.  For the past year, SolUnesco has conducted research and published reports on  Virginia’s decommissioning requirements across all ninety-five counties (Review of Counties

The Unified Future of Clean Energy

By |2019-04-25T10:44:44-04:00March 28th, 2019|Company Update, Industry, Land Use, Policy, Virginia Solar|

By Francis Hodsoll, Lea Maamari and Melody S. Gee Melody S. Gee is a business and technical writer in St. Louis, MO. Decarbonizing energy through solar and wind technologies, as well as harnessing geothermal, hydropower, and biomass power, moves us toward meeting American’s growing desire for zero emission, zero carbon energy. The question of how and whether these discreet clean energy industries can join forces or align interests has stirred efforts and prompted discussion among industry experts and stakeholders, including at the recent Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) Conference this past October. In this article, we explore the possibilities of organized and unified efforts among clean

Revisiting the Composite Index of Virginia

By |2018-12-20T14:53:10-04:00December 20th, 2018|Industry, Land Use, Virginia Solar|

By Francis Hodsoll and Aaron Morrow In a series of blogs in March and April 2017, we discussed the Composite Index (CI) and the impact that solar energy facilities (solar projects) have on the calculation of the CI. In turn, we discussed some of the possible repercussions of the CI policy concerning the awarding of solar project permits. We continue to run across fundamental misunderstandings when it comes to the impact of solar projects on the CI calculation. To offer

Challenges and Opportunities in Virginia’s Solar Energy

By |2018-10-02T14:37:24-04:00October 2nd, 2018|Company Update, Industry, Land Use, Virginia Solar|

This past week, SolUnesco’s CEO , participated in a session entitled “The Rubin Group: Lessons from Virginia at Solar Power International. During the session, Hodsoll discussed how Virginia has rapidly become a clean energy state. In addition, Hodsoll discussed the challenges and opportunities that still exist for solar energy development in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia’s Painfully Slow Start Francis outlined three key interrelated challenges that the industry is facing: Inertia: Virginia is inhibited by an outdated regulatory system that

Decommissioning of Solar Sites: A Key Consideration of the Project

By |2019-04-25T10:42:59-04:00September 10th, 2018|Industry, Land Use, Virginia Solar|

By Lea Maamari As developers of projects that may have three decades of longevity in a community, we want to assure our neighbors that we will leave the land in the same or better condition than we found it. We know that this is also important to our communities, as questions about decommissioning have risen with virtually every solar project proposed in Virginia. In a comprehensive report, which can be downloaded here, SolUnesco has reviewed 45 county ordinances and 50

Supplying Solar Energy in Virginia

By |2018-05-24T15:08:11-04:00May 23rd, 2018|Industry, Land Use, Virginia Solar|

By Francis Hodsoll and Jon Hillis We often receive questions about how the transmission of solar energy works here in Virginia. In addition, we often are asked about the supply of solar and how that matches up with the demand for renewable energy. Read on for some insights into these two questions. The State of Solar Supply in Virginia (May 15, 2018) Currently, in Virginia, there are 10 in-service utility-scale solar energy projects totaling 327 MWs that have completed the

SolUnesco White Paper: Solar Myths Busted

By |2018-06-20T13:19:46-04:00February 8th, 2018|Industry, Land Use, Virginia Solar|

Background This white paper is a companion piece to our two previous blogs on local permitting (Hodsoll and Maughan). In our local permitting blogs we provided our perspectives on best practices for local permitting and how we engage with the local community. We write this white paper to discuss some of the issues and concerns that are raised by the community during this process. All of us engaged in the industry have heard the naysayer’s arguments. From the most bizarre

Local Permitting, SolUnesco’s 101

By |2018-03-05T20:24:56-04:00January 29th, 2018|Land Use, Virginia Solar|

January 29, 2018 By Francis Hodsoll For nearly a decade, my business partner and I have devoted our hearts and considerable time to developing a sustainable solar energy market in Virginia. However, the local permitting process poses a significant risk to the long-term viability of the market. In this companion piece to Seth’s previous blog post on our successful permitting experience in Orange County, Virginia, we offer our perspectives on local permitting and the concerns typically raised by local communities. 

Fiscal Impact on the County: How does Solar Compare to other Land Uses?

By |2018-06-21T11:07:00-04:00September 11th, 2017|Industry, Land Use, Virginia Solar|

This post references research and analysis from an original SolUnesco white paper, which can be downloaded in full, here. Much has been said about the recent plummeting costs of solar technology, and the corresponding ability for utility-scale projects to legitimately compete with more conventional forms of generation. While this is certainly a reality, it is also conditional. Solar profit margins are generally still too slim to overcome less-than-ideal project conditions. The most elemental development ingredient is land; in order to