Bath County schools go solar

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BATH COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) In Bath County, the Valley Elementary School may look fairly common from the parking lot, but when you look down from the nearby mountains, you can see that it has the largest solar power array of any school in Virginia.

Everyone was happy with the deal that brought solar power to the Valley Elementary School through a special deal that BARC Electric arranged to get the system in with no upfront costs to the school.

“BARC has partners with us now, and increasingly more and more and larger ways," says Bath County School Superintendent Sue Hirsh. "So it’s nice to be able them a partner in what we’re accomplishing and what they’re accomplishing."

Solar power has been a top agenda item for the governor, who sees it as a ticket for future employment.

“I have thousands and thousands of jobs open today in Virginia in the renewable energy space," says Gov. Terry McAuliffe, (D). "So if we can start our children at a young age, beginning in the kindergarten and up, through 12, thinking about renewable energy and getting them interested in it – because we have plenty of jobs.”

And it is the educational part of the solar system that particularly appeals to school officials.

“I think our school board and I were much more concerned about the other benefits," Hirsh explains. "And that was the opportunity for our students to live renewable energy, to study renewable energy.”

Eventually bringing the entire Bath County system on 100 percent solar power.

“I was a teacher here at Valley and a principal at Valley," Hirsh says. "So I think it’s really keen that it’s the king, so to speak, of the project, but it’s really to the benefit of all the students.”