Public Works and Environmental Services

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Sharon North
Public Information Officer

Operational Energy Strategy in Action: Going Solar

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See how Fairfax County is going solar in support of its Operational Energy Strategy. Moving away from fossil fuels in favor of renewable forms of energy to power its buildings helps the county save money, reduce its carbon emissions, and promote a healthier environment.

Sully Community Center Solar Panels

Fairfax County government officials celebrated the completion of a significant solar technology installation at the Sully Community Center – saving the county money and contributing to its community-wide energy goals.

Sully Community Center is a 38,000-square-foot facility located on five acres at the intersection of Wall Road and the Air and Space Museum Parkway in Chantilly. The facility, which opened in September of 2022, serves as the home of the Sully Senior Center and also provides a broad array of services, programs and activities for individuals of all ages and abilities.

"Fairfax County faces significant threats to our environment and our economy due to climate change,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay. “That’s why it’s so important that we embrace clean, renewable energy to lower our carbon footprint and reduce the strain on our electric grid. Today’s announcement is a significant step along a long-term path away from fossil fuels and toward a more sustainable future."

Capital Facilities within the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services managed the design, construction, and procurement of the solar array for this project. Henley Construction working with Got Electric, LLC installed the rooftop solar photovoltaic system (180 kW), which can generate approximately 267 megawatt-hours of clean renewable energy per year – an amount roughly equivalent to the electricity used by 30 homes. In terms of greenhouse gas reductions, this is the equivalent of 118 tons of carbon dioxide.

The cost of the project is approximately $537,000 but is expected to generate savings of approximately $1 million over 25 years. In addition to reducing operating costs and generating clean energy, the effort will yield additional benefits over time, such as contributing to better air quality by reducing emissions and providing some shading effect for the roof. The initiative supports sound environmental policies and practices – a goal outlined in the Environment and Energy Outcome Area of Fairfax County’s Strategic Plan.

"Implementing on-site solar technology will lower our electricity costs and reduce our carbon footprint which helps create a healthy, sustainable environment in Fairfax County,” said Lloyd Tucker, Director of Neighborhood and Community Services, which operates the Sully Community Center. “We want to serve as a model to the community by making an investment that will reinforce the value of solar energy for our residents and visitors."

The county’s Operational Energy Strategy has set a goal for carbon neutrality in its facilities, fleet vehicles and county operations, including 50 percent of county electricity from renewable sources, by 2040. Reaching that goal will require a multi-pronged effort to include improving energy efficiency and conservation, adopting alternative technologies, reducing waste and water usage, and empowering behavior change.

The Sully Community Center project is one of five solar installations that are complete or in progress for new or existing county facilities in 2023. Those projects include:

  • Reston Fire Station, 1820 Wiehle Ave., Reston
  • Woodlawn Fire Station, 8701 Lukens Lane, Alexandria
  • Pender Building, 3700 Pender Drive, Fairfax
  • Sully Woodlands Stewardship Education Center, 5301 Walney Road, Chantilly

Fairfax County uses several mechanisms to procure solar-generated electricity – including direct installations during new construction or major renovation projects, or through the use of solar power purchase agreements.

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