As part of a $1 billion investment to bring 500 megawatts of solar generation online, Virginia’s Dominion Energy is teaming up with Coronel Energy, to develop the 20 megawatt Essex Solar Center on 174-acres of land in Essex County, VA. The project will help preserve the land at the former campus of the Rappanhannock Industrial Academy (RIA), a school dedicated to educating children of freed slaves in the early 1900s.
Dominion will supply the energy from the site to its customers, under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Coronel Energy, which will own and operate the facility. The solar farm is scheduled for completion in November 2017 and will employ 80 to 100 workers during its construction, invigorating the local economy.
“The Essex Solar Center is a meaningful project because of the local partnerships that are bringing it to life,” said Kyle West, vice president of real estate, Coronal Energy. “It epitomizes the results that solar development at its best can achieve–powering a local community with clean energy, new jobs and tax revenue by working with landowners to develop a commercially viable solar facility that interconnects with a renewables-focused utility.”
Coronel Energy will lease the land for the project from a the Southside Rappahannock Baptist Association, a non-profit organization and owner of RIA. Revenue produced from the lease of the 70-acre RIA campus will fund the preservation and operations of the important historic site. “This solar project enables RIA to maintain the property and continue having a lasting impact on the people of Essex County by providing services and enhancing opportunities for all the children in the area,” said James Hill, president, RIA Task Force.
The Essex Solar Center is one of many solar projects Dominion has committed to developing in Virginia. The utility is investing $1 billion to install 500 megawatts of solar and infrastructure upgrades throughout the state by 2020. Of the 500 megawatts, 398 megawatts are already complete or under development. Dominion estimated 80 percent of all costs for its projects throughout the state are financed by large business, like Amazon, and government entities.
The project is made possible through Virginia’s permit by rule process (PBR) enforced through the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The PBR ensures renewable energy projects do not impact natural resources surrounding or within the projects area during their time in operation.Tweet