Fluvanna Allows Solar Research

By Bryan Rothamel. Field Officersun

Fluvanna County might be the center of a start of a new type of solar energy. The epicenter of solar thermal energy’s revolution could be the old Fluvanna landfill.

The Board of Supervisors approved a memorandum of understanding to allow Zenman Energy and Renewable Energy Construction Services (RECS) to use 150 feet by 150 feet area on county property on Route 6 in the Fork Union District.

Zenman Energy and RECS is working on creating an open sourced solar energy solution to make solar energy cheaper than burning fossil fuels. They believe if they can make it so cheap, companies will connect it to the power grid and stop using fossil fuels.

“We achieve our goal when solar thermal is cheaper than fossil fuel,” said Benjamin Myrtle, president of RECS.

solar option (2)The plan is to use not solar panels but what is called solar thermal. The process collects sunlight then reflects it to boil water. Steam then works the turbine to generate electricity.

The land Fluvanna is providing will allow Zenman Energy to test their ideas in the field, collect data to improve the system and generate a revenue idea to identify return on investment. Zenman has already been in discussions with Dominion Power and Tenaska about what the future might hold.

Zenman and RECS already have or will design how to make the whole process cheaper including reflectors, evacuated tubes, turbines, support structures, weatherization and grid connection.

Zenman, a 503(c) charity, is still working on achieving funding for the project and will work on federal grants next.

“The quicker we get funded, the quicker we get going,” said Myrtle.

Zenman can come back asking for more area to use but will start with the 150 square feet plot. Fluvanna is contacting Department of Environmental Quality, the state agency that regulates closed landfills, to keep them abreast of the land use. County staff does not expect DEQ to have issues with the proposed use.

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bryan-rothamel.jpgThe Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

Image Credit Zenman

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