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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Marsillac Will Serve on First Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority

Sylvain Marsillac, Old Dominion University professor of electrical and computer engineering, was recently selected as one of the first members of the newly created Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority.

Created earlier this year through an act of the Virginia General Assembly, the authority facilitates, coordinates and supports the development of the solar energy industry and solar-powered electric energy facilities in the Commonwealth.

Marsillac, who has vigorously pursued a solar energy research and commercialization agenda since arriving at Old Dominion in 2011, was appointed to the role by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

"I was thrilled to be selected by Governor McAuliffe to the inaugural Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority Board," Marsillac said. "I look forward to working with the other board members to facilitate, coordinate and support the development of the solar energy industry and solar-powered electric energy facilities in the Commonwealth."

Since arriving at Old Dominion, Marsillac has received 18 grants, totaling nearly $5 million, from top funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy.

He is the director of Old Dominion's Photovoltaics Institute, which has as its mission researching and developing the science and engineering of solar cells and bringing them from the laboratory to industry. Research interests of the lab span the spectrum of photovoltaics, from fundamental science and engineering being performed at the nanoscale, to full system installation and testing.

The Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority is charged with developing programs to increase the financing available for solar energy projects, facilitate the increase of solar energy generation systems on public and private sector facilities in the Commonwealth, promote the growth of the Virginia solar industry and provide a hub for collaboration between entities to partner on solar energy projects.

The Authority will be composed of 11 members, of whom six have been appointed by the Governor. Three members will be appointed by the Speaker of the House, and two will be appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules.

Other board members appointed by McAuliffe on Oct. 2 to the Virginia Solar Energy Authority are William D. Carmack, of Abingdon, CFO of the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center; Barrett Hardiman, of Richmond, director of government relations with Luck Companies; Cody Nystrom, of Richmond, managing director of SJF Ventures; Cliona Mary Robb, of Richmond, partner with Christian & Barton, LLP; and Dawone Robinson, of Richmond, Virginia policy director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Among the specific tasks the Authority has been given are:

  • Identify existing state and regulatory or administrative barriers to the development of the solar energy industry;
  • Collaborate with entities such as higher education institutions to increase the training and development of the workforce needed by the solar industry in Virginia, including industry-recognized credentials and certifications;
  • Apply to the U.S. Department of Energy for loan guarantees for such projects; and
  • Perform any other activities to increase solar energy generation in Virginia and the associated jobs and economic development and competitiveness benefits.

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