The Bulletin

Last pieces of mega Spotsylvania solar project approved

By: - April 15, 2019 2:45 pm

A massive proposed solar development on this timberland property in Spotylsvania County drew major opposition from locals. (Sarah Vogelsong/ For the Virginia Mercury)

The Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors has approved the final permits for what will be the largest solar facility in Virginia and among the biggest in the nation.

“I feel confident the Board of Supervisors has addressed all the issues involving this project and that it is safe,” said Supervisor Greg Benton in a statement provided by sPower, the company behind the project. “I believe ultimately this project will be very beneficial to Spotsylvania County and look forward to seeing the sPower project come to fruition and being a success. This is going to be a long-term partnership for both sPower and Spotsylvania County and will hopefully be prosperous and beneficial for us both.”

The board issued a special use permit for the largest piece of the project last week.

The 500-megawatt solar farm, spread out over 6,350 acres of logging land, had been the target of a group of residents from a nearby gated community who feared the solar panels would drive down property values, create a “heat island” effect and pose contamination risks from the components of the panels, among other objections. The company, environmental groups and an independent expert said those fears were largely unfounded.

Microsoft, Apple, the University of Richmond and other entities will buy electricity generated by the project through power purchase agreements. The facility is scheduled to be built in phases over the next two years.

 

 

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Robert Zullo
Robert Zullo

Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers before becoming editor of the Virginia Mercury in 2018. He was a staff writer and managing editor at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., before spending five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey. A former waiter, armored car guard and appliance deliveryman, he is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact him at [email protected]

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