Letter: FW Lillis, Leesburg

Editor: There are two interesting, related articles in the latest Loudoun Now.  

The first details the possibility that there will not be enough electricity for Loudoun’s data centers. The second reports that a new school in Arcola has solar panels which generate 40% of its electricity needs. Is it possible to get these two parties together? 

The data centers consume enormous amounts of electricity but have acres of flat roofs, ideal for solar panels. It is not likely that they can generate all their electricity needs but they can contribute.  

To project this further, all new roofs in Loudoun (the state and the nation) should have solar panels. This would relieve Dominion of the cost of constructing new power plants and power lines, clean the air, lower the electric bills to the homeowner and make electricity more reliable.  

And Arcola has shown the way.  

FW Lillis, Leesburg

4 thoughts on “Letter: FW Lillis, Leesburg

  • 2022-08-05 at 10:16 pm

    I think FW Lillis makes a brilliant suggestion. It’s imperative the data centers learn from Arcola. Solar panels should be on all data centers in Loudoun. With any luck, communities throughout the country will follow that example. We cannot keep ravaging our environment. Happy Farmworker Appreciation Day Loudoun!

  • 2022-08-06 at 2:55 pm

    Very good idea. County government could adopt that sort of regulation…but don’t hold your breath. They love to get ever more data centers to keep from having to ask citizens to pay more taxes to support the getting-ever-uglier-thanks-to-data-centers Loudoun that we all call home. Seems this approve-another-datacenter trend is gathering momentum…as all things do when they begin to circle the drain.

  • 2022-08-07 at 12:09 am

    It’s interesting how people who appear to know nothing of data centers or solar power want to make recommendations about combining the two in some fantastical “solution.” It would be better to run unicorns on a treadmill to generate power.

    Most people have no idea of how much energy data centers use. A typical data center consumes between 10 and 50 times the amount of energy per square foot than a typical commercial building uses.

    Every google search uses a measurable amount of energy. Every database search and page update uses energy as well. I’ve spent much of the last 20 years in data centers and I have a pretty good understanding of how much energy these buildings use and solar panels on the roof aren’t going to make a dent in their power requirements.

  • 2022-08-08 at 8:46 am

    Love the clear, thoughtful and constructive perspective. Wonder why people don’t suggest placing mosaics on the sides of the data centers instead of complaining they are big nothing looking buildings. Maybe LCPS could entice student art contests to develop the artwork and then negotiate with big tech to sponsor the cost of the paint etc. Maybe LCPS could fund teacher classroom supplies instead of adding to an enormous superintendent salary? Maybe LCPS could enforce higher bus utilization instead of running half empty buses around the county and then claim how GREEN they are? Too much virtue signaling and not enough clear thought and constructive action! Thanks for great letter! 🙂

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