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17-Jul-2017Virginia’s first community solar project earns national award

Interstate Renewable Energy Council recognizes BARC Electric Cooperative

(Millboro, Va.) The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has named BARC Electric Cooperative’s Community Solar Project & Solar Learning Center as the Community/Shared Renewables Project of the Year.

Keyser accepted the co-op’s award during a July 11 ceremony held at Intersolar North America in San Francisco, at which IREC celebrated the nation’s best innovation, ingenuity and inspiration in renewable energy and energy efficiency as part of the 35th annual 3iAwards.

"We're proud to recognize the work each recipient has done to set new standards and create solutions to today’s complex renewable energy and energy efficiency challenges,” said Ken Jurman, IREC board member and chair of the 3iAwards Committee.

Applications were accepted in four categories: Community/Shared Renewables, State/Local Government Initiatives, Regulatory Champion of the Year, and IREC-certified Clean Energy Trainer of the Year. BARC earned kudos for its 550kW solar garden, located near Lexington, Va. which became operational in late 2016.

Explains BARC CEO Mike Keyser, “Our Community Solar Project & Solar Learning Center achieves two firsts for Virginia. Not only is it the Commonwealth’s first and only community solar project, but it is also the first to offer a solar classroom with interactive displays, multimedia, discussions and experiments for building solar toys. We really appreciate the recognition and award from IREC for our groundbreaking project."

By combining multiple financing sources – Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs), federal and state grants – with a subscription-based approach, BARC shows that community solar can be feasible and achievable for any utility. The member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative serves 13,000 members in Bath, Allegheny, Rockbridge, Highland and Augusta counties. For more information, call 800-846-2272 or visit the co-op online at www.barcelectric.com.

BARC Electric Cooperative CEO Mike Keyser (sixth from the left) with other winners of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s 35th Annual Awards in San Francisco. BARC’s Community Solar Project & Solar Learning Center was named Community/Shared Renewables Project of the Year.
First graders from Waddell Elementary in Lexington, Va. learn about solar energy during a visit to BARC Electric Cooperative’s Solar Learning Center, which includes a real-time display of solar energy being produced on-site.