File - Renewable energy solar power

A worker installs solar panels on the roof of a building.

Dominion Energy, the public utility that supplies energy to parts of Virginia and 17 other states, is requesting bids for expanding solar power generation by up to 500 megawatts in both 2021 and 2022. 500 megawatts of energy can power about 125,000 homes.

“An increased focus on renewable generation sources, such as solar, is key to reducing carbon emissions,” Samantha Moore, a spokesperson for Dominion, told The Center Square via email.

The company has short-term and long-term goals for producing cleaner energy, which includes shifting energy production to sources that emit less carbon, such as wind and solar. In the last decade, the company has reduced carbon emissions by about 50 percent, which Moore said is equivalent to taking 6,000 cars off the road.

By 2022, Dominion hopes to have 3,000 megawatts of power from solar and wind in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which is enough to power 750,000 homes. By continuing to work on wind and solar energy projects, Dominion hopes to reduce its total carbon emissions throughout the country by 80 percent by the year 2050.

“The Solar [request for proposal] is soliciting bids for energy, capacity and environmental attributes including Renewable Energy Certificates, for new solar facilities at least 5 megawatts (ac) in size,” Dominion said in a news release.

“The facilities must be located in Virginia to be considered,” the statement read. The proposals can be for power purchase agreements and/or the purchase of development projects. The [request for proposal] outlines the proposal requirements and power and asset purchase agreement terms requiring a commercial operations date in 2021 and 2022, as well as the price and non-price evaluation criteria.”

According to 2017 numbers, Dominion generates about 43 percent of its energy from nuclear, 37 percent from natural gas, 15 percent from coal, 4 percent from renewable energy, such as solar and wind, and just 1 percent from oil.

Because Dominion is still waiting for bids, the cost of this project could not yet be determined, Moore said. However, she said that solar energy requires a different level of operational maintenance, which could lead to lower overhead costs.

Staff Writer

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Ohio for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.