Contact: Chelsea Barnes
New Economy Program Manager
Appalachian Voices
816 Park Avenue NW
Norton, VA 24273

Notice of Intent to Issue Request for Proposals for Southwest Virginia Commercial-Scale Solar Group Purchase Program

The Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia provides notice that it intends to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the development of commercial-scale solar projects on business, government, and non-profit owned buildings through the Workgroup’s second Commercial-Scale Solar Group Purchase program. The Workgroup is facilitating this group purchase as part of its mission to utilize the development of solar energy as an economic catalyst in the seven-county region of far SWVA.

In 2018, the Workgroup successfully facilitated its first Commercial-Scale Solar Group Purchase for over 1.5 megawatts (MW) of solar power at six buildings across the region, including Ridgeview and Central High Schools in Dickenson and Wise Counties. The Workgroup is facilitating this second group purchase process focused in the seven coalfield counties in far Southwest Virginia (Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton).

In this forthcoming RFP, the Workgroup is seeking proposals for approximately 2.7 MW of capacity across approximately 14 buildings owned by 9 different companies and organizations, though the final project cohort is still being finalized. The RFP will be issued by April 1st, 2019, and responses will be due May 24th. The Workgroup will conduct a pre-bid meeting and project site visits during on April 11th-12th (these dates have been revised since the original issuance of this notice). RSVP for the site visits by April 5th. Additional information is available at the Group Purchase Program website.

The primary goal of the Group Purchase Program is to work with building owners and developers to find solar solutions that are cost-effective. Through the group purchase program, the Workgroup provides no-cost technical assistance to building owners throughout the procurement process. Preference will be given to developers that can: (1) provide contracts to participants that involve no upfront costs and that are revenue neutral or positive from day one; (2) begin project installations in time to ensure the systems are eligible for the 30% federal tax credit; and (3) incorporate opportunities for employing the local Southwest Virginia workforce, or opportunities for interns from the Mountain Empire Community College Energy Technology pathway program.

The Workgroup is comprised of nonprofit and community action agencies, colleges, state agencies, planning district commissions, and other interested citizens and businesses seeking to develop a renewable energy industry cluster in the seven coalfield counties of Southwest Virginia. The Workgroup was co-convened in 2016 by the UVA-Wise Office of Economic Development & Engagement, People Inc., and Appalachian Voices, with facilitation assistance from Dialogue + Design Associates. Additional background information is available at the Solar Workgroup website.   

Contact Chelsea Barnes with the Solar Workgroup at or (276) 207-9636 to learn more, and Austin Counts at to RSVP for the site visits.