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Proposal for new solar energy project submitted in Albemarle County

Updated: Feb. 23, 2021 at 9:37 PM EST
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BATESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County is taking its first steps toward a new energy source.

A permit to build an 8-Megawatt facility for solar energy, with a 4-Megawatt battery energy storage system, has been submitted to the county by Sun Tribe Solar. It’s the beginning of a long process, but the organization says it would bring a new source of energy to the western part of the county.

“Midway Solar will produce carbon-free, renewable energy to [Central Virginia Electric Cooperative] CVEC and surrounding households and again enough power to power over approximately 2600 homes in Albemarle County,” said Bobby Jocz, the project manager.

Jocz says the plan is to use about half of the 136 acres of land near Craigs Store Road for the project. It’s located about 1.5 miles from Batesville.

On Tuesday, the county held a meeting to discuss the proposal and share details with the public. Bill Fritz, the county’s development process manager, says the county “wants to get input, that’s why we do this meeting.”

A few Craigs Store Road homeowners called in during public comment to say that while they’re in favor of solar energy, they had questions about the location.

“When I look at opportunities for development on top of buildings in more urban areas, it just, at face value, doesn’t seem like the best location,” said Paul Miller.

Andrew Cotter of CVEC says they chose the location because of “our ability to control this power.

“That only happens if it’s on our grid,” said Cotter. “And there are not that many places - this is probably our best opportunity to have a project of that size at Central Virginia Electric Cooperative.”

The proposal still has to go through the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, but Jocz says if all goes well, construction on the six-month-long project could start sometime in the spring of 2022.

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