Industries Energy/Green

Construction to begin in August on state’s largest municipal utility solar farm

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Construction on the Kentuck Solar project, Virginia’s largest municipal utility solar farm, will begin this August. The Kentuck project is a 6-megawatt solar array that will be part of the generation mix for Danville Municipal Utility.

When operational, the solar farm will generate enough electricity to power more than 900 homes. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the project’s timetable on Tuesday during a roundtable discussion with local officials and stakeholders as part of his Clean Energy Jobs Tour.

“The clean energy industry holds great potential for economic development in all parts of Virginia, especially areas like Southside that have struggled with job growth as core industries have declined,” McAuliffe said in a statement.  “…The city of Danville is taking the lead on this issue in Virginia, and I am hopeful other communities will follow its example and reap the economic and community benefits that come from increased use of renewable energy.”

According to the governor’s office, nearly 200 megawatts of solar have been installed in Virginia since 2014, and the number of solar jobs have increased 65 percent during the last year, making Virginia — a state that has lagged in solar — one of the fastest- growing solar job markets in the country.

Sol Systems and Turning Point Energy are the developers behind the Danville project. The estimated investment is more than $10 million. The farm is expected to power up to 1.5 percent of Danville Municipal Utility’s power needs once it’s operational by the end of 2017.  The array will be located near Dan River Middle, Kentuck Elementary and Dan River High schools in Pittsylvania County.    

“We look forward to this project providing energy and capacity to our electric customers for many years to come,” Jason Grey, Danville’s director of utilities, said in a statement.

George Ashton, president of Sol Systems, said the Kentuck project “is the first of many utility-scale solar project investments for us in Virginia, and we believe the local community and partners in Danville are a model of what can be accomplished by working together.”

Danville Utilities provides natural gas, water, wastewater and telecommunications services in the city and distributes electricity to about 42,000 customer locations in a 500-square-mile service territory covering Danville, the southern third of Pittsylvania County, and small portions of Henry and Halifax counties.

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