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Governor Bob McDonnell today applauded Dominion Virginia Power's selection of several Virginia universities to receive renewable energy research and development funding totaling $1.4 million from Dominion Virginia Power, as part of the company's new R&D Partnership Program. The development and funding of these projects was prompted by successful legislation proposed by the Governor last session that provides utilities credit for these investments toward meeting their statutory RPS goals.

"Dominion Virginia Power is providing the seed money necessary for alternative and renewable energy research in Virginia and helping to keep the Commonwealth on track to becoming the 'Energy Capital of the East Coast'," Governor McDonnell said. "This funding will provide dividends to all Virginians in the future while Dominion today is adding renewable solar and biomass energy and is in the early stages of testing wind generation off the coast of Virginia. The Virginia General Assembly is to be commended for allowing such R&D activities to count toward utilities meeting the goals of the commonwealth's renewable portfolio standard. Virginia welcomes initiatives like these to develop technologies that can increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of renewable energy resources and support broad integration of Virginia's alternative energy resources into a diverse energy portfolio."

Dominion sought proposals from Virginia colleges and universities, asking them to include a requested funding amount and proposed project term of one to three years. Dominion and each university collaborated on the funding needs and project schedule. The funding needs take into consideration the proposed costs of resources required (equipment, materials, supplies, and professor/graduate student time, etc.) to carry out each R&D project.

The selected projects are detailed below. Dominion is discussing potential additional projects with the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and George Mason University in Fairfax.

Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va., $500,000 over 3 years

Development of a Test Facility for Photovoltaic Systems

Establishes a test facility to study issues related to economics, operation, maintenance, and performance of large-scale solar installations. Areas of study include 1) Cost and operational comparison of various solar mounting structures; 2) Side-by-side comparison of different photovoltaic technologies; and 3) Real time analysis of performance degradation of solar tracking systems.

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Published on: February 1, 2013