Thursday, November 30, 2023

Norge solar farm: Still no site plans, Dominion says it won’t be involved with project

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 Tuesday.(WYDaily/Courtesy of SunPower).

As preliminary plans for a 20-megawatt solar farm swirl around in James City County at Hill Pleasant Farm, another solar farm has been mentioned multiple times.

And it’s still a mystery whether it will come to fruition.

In January 2018, the James City County Board of Supervisors approved a special use permit for developer SunPower to build a 20-megawatt solar farm behind the Norvalia subdivision.

As of late August, SunPower still has not filed any site plans with the county planning department, a necessary step for the project to come to fruition.

Planning Director Paul Holt said the special use permit approved for that location is valid until 2022.

A SunPower communications specialist responded to an inquiry by WYDaily, but was not immediately able to provide a project update.

California-based SunPower had originally proposed to fit the approximately 820-panel solar farm on the 224-acre stretch of farmland on Richmond Road in November 2016, generating enough electricity to power roughly 4,000 homes.

The project was met with apprehension from some neighbors in the Norvalia subdivision who worried trucks and heavy equipment would disrupt the area.

Some solar farms sell the energy generated by solar panels to companies such as Dominion or Amazon. 

In January 2018, Peter Toomey, SunPower’s senior manager of business development, 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.

In February, a Dominion spokeswoman said she could not confirm whether the company was or was not involved with the project.

Now, Dominion Communications Specialist Samantha Moore confirmed Dominion is not — and will not be — involved with project in the future.

Another solar developer, Strata Solar, has proposed building another solar farm on the Hill Pleasant Farm property near Norge. Strata recently built a solar farm in New Kent County for Amazon Web Services. 

Strata Solar is currently in talks with a utility company but have not yet struck a deal, company representatives said during a Development Review Committee meeting Aug. 21.

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

Sarah Fearing
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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