Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

  • Target: 100% electricity community-wide by 2050
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar power
  • Implementation: Blacksburg City Council in Virginia is transitioning to 100% renewable electricity community-wide by 2050 through a series of “solarize” campaigns. It launched the Solarize Blacksburg program to encourage more city residents to go solar by addressing  the financial and logistical barriers to installing solar power. The city worked with installers to lower the costs of solar arrays by 16 percent. A neighborhood collective purchasing program was established for the city's communities. Unlike other solarize models which usually start with a neighborhood or team of neighbors getting together to form a co-op, and then vet and choose a contractor that will perform all of the solar installations, the Solarize Blacksburg model involved finding the contractors upfront, getting the companies to agree on specific pricing options and technical specifications, and then letting the community drive the demand. The model succeeded in quadrupling residential solar within 6 months. Despite it being home to Virginia Tech with 70 percent renter-occupied housing, and unfavourable state energy policies for solar, the model worked well. The follow-up program Solarize Montgomery was also very successful, with more than 800 subscribers.The two solarize programs were implemented as one-time programs to avoid the impression that the programs were ongoing which could have resulted in potential participants postponing the decision to sign up. In fact, after a program ended, the adoption of solar continued. Systems already installed in the community encouraged more residents to install solar power. In Montgomery County, solar use grew by 273 percent within three years. Since 2015, residential solar has more than doubled across the state of Virginia, and at least 25 other Virginia communities have created their own solarize programs. Source: governing.com
  • Population:  44,233 (2019)
  • Area:  19.77 sq mi (51.20 km2)
  • Link: 100% Renewables Resolution
Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

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