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Virginia Living Museum Receives Dominion Grant to Go Greener

Virginia Living Museum Receives Dominion Grant to Go Greener

The Virginia Living Museum has received $150,000 from Dominion Virginia Power’s charitable foundation. The Dominion Foundation grant makes it possible for the museum to have one of the largest non-profit solar installations in Hampton Roads.

The museum is installing 165 solar panels (a 46.2KW solar system) on its south facing roof. The solar system will produce more than 4900 kWh of electricity per month (58,853kWh per year), enough to fully power more than six U.S. homes. The system is expected to save the museum more than $5,000 in electricity costs in the first year alone.

Over the first year, the green power produced by the system will prevent more than 41 metric tons of carbon dioxide to be released.
“This solar array has the potential to be an impressive educational display in support of alternative energy, due both to its size and its placement in close contact with the public,” said museum Deputy Executive Director Fred Farris. “Most roof top solar panel installations are difficult to view and thus rarely seen by the general public. This solar array, however, will be only a few feet away from visitors as they stand on the museum’s observatory deck. Educational signage and a digital screen display of real time solar electrical system production from the panels will allow visitors to get a first hand look at how a solar system really works.”
“What makes this a truly unique solar installation is the fact that it is placed directly opposite our astronomical observatory where visitors can view the sun through special telescopes. So not only will guests be learning about solar generation of electricity but they will also get to see and learn about the incredible source of that energy . . . our sun! The sun’s potential to supply the earth’s future electrical needs is almost unlimited. In just 20 days of sunlight the earth receives the equivalent energy of all the world’s reserves of coal, gas and oil combined! So unlocking the power of that sunlight will be the challenge of future generations,” Farris said.
“Dominion is pleased to partner with the Virginia Living Museum on this project,” said Junius Williams, Managing Director of VA/NC State and Local Affairs. “It will encourage and support the growth of solar energy in Virginia. Our company is committed to expanding the use of renewable and alternative energy.”
The solar panels are being installed by Bay Electric Co., Inc., which is also donating $14,897 toward the project. Bay Electric has included a monitoring system with real time solar and weather data. This will allow visitors “to see the real time power produced as well as the positive environmental impact that the Virginia Living Museum is making by going solar,” said John F. Biagas, president/CEO of Bay Electric.

The solar installation is scheduled to be completed and dedicated April 20, 2013 during the museum’s Earth Day celebration.

The Virginia Living Museum is a private non-profit museum and education center located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News. For more information call 757-595-1900 or visit

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