ALBEMARLE COUNTY, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- The Albemarle Public School district is the first school division in Virginia to enter into a solar power purchase agreement with an energy farm.
The district has signed a contract with Secure Futures, a Staunton-based solar energy development firm.
The school system got several solar energy proposals from different companies, but the Staunton company was ultimately awarded the project.
The project will install more than 3,000 solar panels and generate 1.3 million kilowatt hours of energy per year.
Thursday morning, the company visited Sutherland Middle School.
Members of its staff will be working alongside students on a long-term project to install solar panels on six county schools.
As for the students, it too their testimony in Richmond for the State Corporation Commission to reach a purchasing agreement with Secure Futures.
Dhara Liyanage, a seventh grade student at Sutherland, said, "For my testimony, I talked about nuclear power and how the nuclear race never really goes away. And I talked about coal pollutants and how we need more solar energy in Virginia."
The solar panels are expected to provide 14 percent of the current electricity needs of the six schools where they will be installed.
Those schools will be Albemarle High, Monticello High, Sutherland Middle, Baker-Butler Elementary, Brownsville Elementary and Greer Elementary.
Installation should be complete by the end of 2015 and the division estimates the panels will save it $80,000 over the life of the agreement.