Home Project manager joins Virginia private colleges Solar Market Pathways team

Project manager joins Virginia private colleges Solar Market Pathways team


earth-newThe Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) has hired a veteran attorney, environmental advocate, renewable energy leader, and former educator as project manager for the Solar Market Pathways grant recently awarded to CICV by the U.S. Department of Energy Sunshot Initiative.

Carol C. Wampler joined the CICV team on March 12 to assist 15 of CICV’s nonprofit private colleges in developing plans for implementing solar energy on their campuses under the auspices of the DOE project.

CICV President Robert Lambeth, who serves as principal investigator of the CICV project, noted, “I am pleased that a person of Carol Wampler’s ability and experience has agreed to lead the CICV solar project.  Carol is well known and highly regarded in Virginia and will be a tremendous asset to CICV.  Her experience will allow us to move quickly to work with our colleges in developing solar energy implementation plans.”

Ms. Wampler thanked Lambeth for coaxing her out of retirement to take on the project-manager position.  “It is an honor to work with Robert Lambeth and his CICV team in implementing this exciting solar project.  Virginia’s private colleges are impressive, and their faculty and students intelligent and motivated.  I hope my past experiences and working relationships within the solar community will contribute to their success in this project. CICV deserves a great deal of credit for being one of only 15 projects in the country to be awarded one of these DOE grants.”

Ms. Wampler was educated at Virginia colleges, holding degrees from William & Mary (Phi Beta Kappa), Old Dominion University, and University of Virginia School of Law.  Her first profession was as an educator. She was a high-school teacher, instructor at Old Dominion University, consultant, and college textbook author and editor. After receiving her law degree, she served a judicial clerkship in Norfolk’s federal district court and then practiced environmental and energy law with a Richmond law firm.

For many years, Ms. Wampler served as Vice President and General Counsel of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, where she represented the state’s major manufacturers and utilities before the Virginia General Assembly and state regulatory agencies, primarily on environmental and tax issues. She retired in 2014 from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, where she had headed the agency’s new renewable energy program and led DEQ’s development of regulations for solar, wind, and other renewable energy projects. During the development of these regulations, she facilitated numerous stakeholder-group discussions, resulting in an almost unprecedented degree of consensus decisions.

After the regulations were complete, she continued to facilitate informal discussions among representatives of the solar industry, conservation groups, local governments, public utilities, colleges, and trade groups concerning model solar ordinances and solar-development issues. For many years, Ms. Wampler has been a speaker at state and regional environmental and energy conferences.

Ms. Wampler’s board memberships have included the State Water Control Board, of which she was Chairman; the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), a compact of eight states and the federal government; the New River Land Trust (Blacksburg); and the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (Norfolk). She is also a founding board member of Virginiaforever, a statewide coalition of business and conservation leaders that advocates for increased state funding for land and water resources.

CICV has been awarded more than $807,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to help 15 of their members, all private nonprofit colleges from all regions of Virginia, develop comprehensive plans for implementing solar power on their campuses.

The three-year program will help the colleges navigate the complex legal, regulatory, and technical challenges associated with installing solar systems, leverage group purchasing power to achieve price reductions for hardware and installation services, and create a learning network accessible by other organizations considering solar power. Consulting services will be provided to CICV by Optony, Inc., a global consulting firm focused on solar energy.

The 15 colleges involved in the collaborative initiative are Appalachian School of Law, Bridgewater College, Eastern Mennonite University, Emory & Henry College, Ferrum College, Hampton University, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin College, Marymount University, Randolph College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Virginia Union University and Washington & Lee University.

“The SunShot Initiative presents an opportunity to work as a team to effectively make progress in an area that is challenging when working individually, particularly for our smaller schools that may be limited in the resources they can commit to installing solar,” said Lambeth.

The funding is a landmark achievement for CICV, as it is the first time the organization has sought federal funds to further its mission of collaboration among its members.

“SunShot is CICV’s first attempt at securing federal money to help our members meet their sustainability goals,” said Director of Business Operations Anita Girelli. “We have had success with so many collaborative projects; it seemed natural to continue those efforts in an area that is of such importance to our members, their communities, and the environment.”

The ultimate goal is to create and implement a replicable plan for participating institutions to deploy solar electricity within five years. This project has the potential to substantially increase the total amount of solar power now produced within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Drawing on expertise from select faculty and staff at participating institutions, the project will eliminate duplication of effort and create a streamlined, replicable process for institutions to plan for, acquire and implement solar energy systems on their campuses. Students at participating institutions will contribute their time and effort to the program.

Once the framework is in place and institutions are ready to begin installing solar power, CICV will develop a request for proposals (RFP) so that companies may bid to install the solar energy equipment schools choose.

A final part of the program is the development of a learning network that encourages and enables project replication, including a how-to guidebook and an online information hub accessible to interested parties within and outside Virginia throughout the project lifecycle and beyond.

“While solar energy is not their primary mission, our member colleges are proud to be good stewards of the earth and positive role models for their students and communities,” said Lambeth. “Many are signatories to the Presidents’ Climate Commitment and are committed to becoming climate neutral. Solar energy is one way to make progress toward those goals.”



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