Virginia’s Secretary of Technology Visits Western Loudoun County
The Virginia Secretary of Technology, Jim Duffey and Assistant Secretary of Technology, Cameron Kilberg, visited Loudoun County last Friday for a tour of local businesses using innovative, energy efficient technology practices. Along with representatives of Solar4Leesburg, Secretary Duffey and Kilberg made stops in Purcellville, visiting Endless Summer Harvest and North Gate Vineyard.
Dr. Mary Haberi of Solar4Leesburg said, “We were delighted that Jim Duffey and Cameron Kilberg came to Northern Virginia. When visiting the Governor’s Deputy in Richmond to advocate for clean, smart, safe, green energy as an alternative to dependence on fossil fuels, we invited the Secretary of Technology to visit two scientific solar projects in Western Loudoun. Within six weeks, they were in our energy efficient offices. This was a day to remember for our young company!” Solar4Leesburg is a start-up solar photovoltaic company made up of four partners. The organization is committed to using high quality, innovative and reliable solar systems by FATH Solar of Germany.
The Secretary met with Solar4Leesburg at their offices in the Mason Enterprise Center in Leesburg and then toured the recently opened business accelerator. The next stop on the tour was Endless Summer Harvest, a hydroponic gourmet lettuce farm outfitted with 12,000 square feet of technologically advanced greenhouses, which allows the company to grow their produce 365 days a year. Also, ninety percent of the water used to grow the produce is recycled and reused on the crops. Owner/President, Mary Ellen Taylor said, “Endless Summer Harvest was pleased to discuss the urgency of energy efficient alternatives to sustain rural businesses in Virginia with Secretary Duffey during his tour of our farm.” The group was given a thorough tour of the two greenhouses and had an opportunity to sample the gourmet lettuce that is sold locally at farmers markets and area restaurants.
The final stop on the tour of Western Loudoun was to North Gate Vineyard. Owners Mark and Vicki Fedor opened their new tasting room and wine production facility last year. The facility is fully equipped with a 96 panel solar roof designed and installed by Solar4Leesburg. “When we decided to build our facility to LEED Gold standards, alternative energy production was the centerpiece of that effort. It was encouraging to see the Commonwealth take notice of the efforts going on here in Loudoun County and the visit by the Secretary allowed us to show him first-hand what an investment in alternative energy can mean to an agricultural business like ours.”, said Mark Fedor, co-owner and winemaker at North Gate. With an annual production of 3,500 cases, North Gate’s goal is to be net-zero in energy usage from the power grid over the course of the year. Fedor added, “It is coming up on our one year anniversary and we are close to our goal. We hope our successful efforts in this area show the Commonwealth how important it is to make it easier for rural businesses to take advantage of this technology.”
As articulated in their mission statement, “The Secretary of Technology and its agencies are responsible for the efficient and effective use of information technology to simplify government operations, advance technology applications to improve public services, and drive the innovation economy through the Commonwealth’s leadership.” Solar4Leesburg, Endless Summer Harvest and North Gate Vineyard are drivers of the innovation economy. The collaborative effort of these inventive companies is an example of why Loudoun County is known as a pioneering, globally competitive economy with an exceptional quality of place and strong sense of community.
About the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development
The Loudoun County Department of Economic Development (LCDED) provides excellent customer focused economic development services to attract, grow and retain targeted businesses and promotes entrepreneurism, in order to diversify and strengthen Loudoun’s economy. The LCDED provides site location and business development assistance, and facilitates connections with county and state government agencies, to help companies expand, locate, and launch. www.biz.loudoun.gov