Thursday, July 7, 2022

Solar developer proposes 20-megawatt project for Hill Pleasant Farm parcel

James City County's first large-scale solar farm was approved by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. (Courtesy SunPower).
James City County’s first large-scale solar farm was approved by the Board of Supervisors in January 2018.(WYDaily/File photo)

More than a year after supervisors approved a solar farm for an old field in Norge, more solar is back on the roster.

A solar power company has sent a letter to the James City County Planning Department indicating it may be interested in building a 20-megawatt — referenced as 20 “MWac” in the letter — solar farm off Richmond Road.

The project would be called Rochambeau Solar and settled between Route 60 and Rochambeau Drive on a piece of property owned by Hill Pleasant Farm and the Hunt family. It would include the solar farm panels and possibly a battery storage facility.

The company proposing the project, North Carolina-based Strata Solar Development LLC, has entered into a long-term lease with Hill Pleasant Farm, according to the letter.

The conceptual plans submitted by Strata Solar Development could change, as they were designed without a topographic or boundary survey, nor an environmental or archaeological evaluation, according to the letter.

The letter’s writer, Development Manager Ben Vollmer, said the review from planning staff and “early stage dialogue” will help address concerns.

The proposed project appears in the Planning Director’s Report for June 2019.

Planning Director Paul Holt said the company who is proposing the project is different than the previous company who proposed building a 20-megawatt solar farm behind the Norvalia subdivision in Norge.

In February, Holt told WYDaily SunPower Devco LLC had not submitted any site plan documents, which would be needed to move the project forward.

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

That project, if it comes to fruition, would power roughly 4,000 homes as the county’s first large-scale solar farm.

Holt said the Planning Department has not received any other documents for the Strata Solar Development project besides the letter and preliminary conceptual plan.

The Planning Commission is set to meet at 6 p.m. June 6 at the James City County Government Center Board Room. The Planning Director’s Report is one of the agenda items for that meeting.

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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