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New Solar Farm In Va: Good For Business, Good For The State

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Insurance Provider Anthem Signs Deal For Solar Energy In Virginia

Insurance provider Anthem recently signed a 15-year power purchase agreement to obtain the output from a new 182-acre, 20-megawatt solar farm in Hanover County, VA, approximately 20 miles north of Richmond. Project developer SunEnergy1 says the solar field should be up and running by the end of 2020. 

Anthem also has a similar agreement with a solar field in North Carolina, slated to be completed in early 2021. Between the North Carolina and Virginia projects, Anthem expects to have enough solar power for all its offices and data centers across the country, a move that catapults the company towards its goal of sourcing 100% renewable energy by 2025. 

Anthem uses over 225,000-megawatt hours of electricity per year or enough to power 20,000 homes. According to the company’s website, it will take more than 300 football fields of solar panels to offset the company’s electricity. The solar field in Hanover County is roughly the size of 138 football fields. 

Anthem chose the Virginia site for its solar project because the state hosts more than 9,000 associates and is home to the majority of the company’s electric load. 

“We’re celebrating an important step forward in achieving our renewable energy goal and are proud that Virginia is playing a large role as we increasingly focus on improving the sustainability of our operations and our business,” said Jeff Ricketts, president of Anthem Blue and Blue Shield in Virginia. 

As a state, Virginia has made great strides in its commitment to clean energy. Earlier this year, Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation that establishes energy efficiency standards and advances offshore wind and rooftop solar projects. Called the Virginia Clean Energy Economy Act, the law requires regional energy companies Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power to be 100% carbon-free by 2045 and 2050 (respectively) and also sets a schedule for closing many of the area’s fossil fuel plants. 

“Clean energy will power the future, and Virginia is leading the way,” Governor Northam said when visiting the Anthem solar development in Hanover County last month. He went on to highlight his administration’s clean energy initiatives as well as Anthem’s recent efforts. 

“Since I took office, our administration has worked constantly to create new clean energy opportunities and to make sure that Virginia is at the forefront of clean energy innovation. Virginia will power the grid with 100 percent clean energy in the years to come, thanks to this transformative new law and a comprehensive energy plan. It’s good to see employers like Anthem choose renewable energy, and we congratulate them on being part of the solution.”

In addition to the Hanover County solar development deal, Anthem also set an environmentally-conscious example by joining RE100, a global initiative comprised of influential businesses working to source renewable energy for daily operations. Led by The Climate Group in partnership with non-profit CDP North America, RE100’s mission “is to accelerate change towards zero-carbon grids at scale.” 


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