(WFXR) — The U.S. Department of Rural Development announced $10 million to install solar panels in Campbell County on Friday.
One company, Depot Solar Center LLC., was granted the money through the Rural Energy for American Program (REAP), and the system is expected to power about 2,980 homes. While Americans are beginning to turn towards green energy, there is also a rising debate regarding electric vehicles (EV).
Dr. Laura Hartman, a professor of environmental studies at Roanoke College, says rising gas prices are a reason behind people going electric and she drives an EV herself.
“Studies have shown that the environmental impact of making an electric car is more than the impact of making a gas car,” said Hartman, but the emissions created while using that gas car are far greater.
Hartman says the lower emissions of driving an electric vehicle offset the carbon footprint from manufacturing.
Still, the electricity charging your EV in Virginia is typically coal-powered. Appalachian Power says they currently generate more electricity from fossil fuels than renewables — but they’re evolving. By 2050, Virginia state law says 100% of electricity must come from renewable sources.
“The energy that powers your home and your car will get cleaner and cleaner every year,” said Craig Carper, spokesperson for Dominion Energy.
He says electric vehicles are all a part of the plan
“As we see more and more adoption of EVs, we’ll see the infrastructure continue to grow to support that,” Carper said.
Dominion Energy has helped to provide electric school buses to various districts around the state, including Pittsylvania County.
Hartman says electric vehicles are getting more affordable to buy, while AEP says charging an electric car is about one-third of the cost to fuel a gas-powered car, and maintenance costs are also lower.
However, Hartman pointed out that if you really want to make a difference to the planet, you should think beyond the car.
“The lowest impact that you can have is to walk, second-lowest is your bicycle,” Hartman said.