Solar panels on the roof of Powhatan Elementary School. (Sarah Vogelsong/Virginia Mercury)

POWHATAN — More than a year after the dozens of solar panels that blanket the roofs of Powhatan Elementary and Powhatan Middle School hummed to life, state and county officials finally cut the ribbon on the project. 

“In 2020, when the General Assembly passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act, this is what we were forecasting,” said Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, D-Chesterfield. “This is what we hoped for.” 

But while the Powhatan solar arrays were illustrations of one of the Clean Economy Act’s goals of expanding school and local government solar, they were also representative of another force that has shaped those plans for the past 15 months: COVID-19. 

Since the Virginia Clean Economy Act

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