Wednesday, July 6, 2022

What’s up with that controversial Norge solar farm project? Well…

Courtesy of SunPower
SunPower Devco, LLC., a California-based solar energy company, plans to request a special use permit from James City County for a solar farm up to 20 megawatts in Norge. (Courtesy SunPower)

For more than a year, residents in the Norvalia subdivision have been waiting for equipment to start rolling through their neighborhood, carrying solar panels and tools to install them in an old farm field.

But the neighborhood is still quiet, with no further development since the project’s special use permit was approved by the James City County Board of Supervisors in January 2018.

James City County Planning Director Paul Holt said the developer, SunPower Devco LLC, has not filed any new applications for a site plan documents since the permit was approved.

Without filing those documents and getting the plans approved, SunPower cannot begin construction, Holt noted.

SunPower did not return multiple requests for comment.

The California-based company first proposed to settle a 20-megawatt solar farm on the 224-acre stretch of farmland on Richmond Road in November 2016.

The farm would be the first large-scale solar farm in the county, generating enough electricity to power roughly 4,000 homes using roughly 820 ground-mounted panels.

RELATED STORY: James City County’s first large-scale solar farm to call Norge home

SunPower has planned to sell the power generated by the farm to Dominion Energy.

In January 2018, SunPower Senior Manager of Business Development Peter Toomey said three things need to happen before construction can begin: Sunpower needs an interconnection agreement from Dominion, a contract with Dominion to sell the power and proper permits from Virginia authorities.

A map of the solar farm site and the surrounding residential neighborhoods. (WYDaily/Courtesy James City County)

Dominion spokeswoman Bonita Harris said Thursday Dominion could not confirm whether it is or isn’t involved in the project.

She said confidentiality agreements prevent Dominion from disclosing any specific information about any projects until transactions are complete and agreed upon by all parties.

Last year, Dominion committed to seeking additional renewable energy through solar and wind power under Virginia’s Grid Transformation & Security Act.

“We are still actively reviewing solar proposals across Virginia in order to meet our 3000 MW commitment,” Harris said.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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