Broadway to consider solar farm proposal that would power high school

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 7:11 PM EDT
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BROADWAY, Va. (WHSV) - An Alabama-based solar company is hoping to build a solar farm in Broadway that would completely power Broadway High School. EnPower Solutions LLC has partnered with Rockingham County Public Schools for the proposal.

The 1 Megawatt solar farm would be built on four acres of land adjacent to the school near Springbrook Road. EnPower business development manager Cody Doores said that it would reduce over 1,200 tons of CO2 emissions and yield $80,000 in construction sales tax revenue.

The proposal will go before the Town of Broadway which has the final say on the project.

“I think the biggest thing is aesthetics. From what we’ve discussed, is it something that we want in that specific area? We understand that the school system is in favor of it. We understand green energy and the need for such so I guess it’s just a balance between those two things,” said Broadway Town Manager Kyle O’Brien.

O’Brien said that the property the solar farm would be built on is zoned as R-5 planned unit development which allows for a mix of residential and commercial uses. He said ultimately the town council will make a land use decision on whether they feel the project is right for the area.

“We just want to make sure before it’s approved that it’s something that the Broadway community is ok with and obviously our planning commission and town council is ok with. It’s a first for us, normally you don’t see those within a defined city or town, normally they’re out in the county,” said O’Brien.

EnPower is also partnering with the FFA on the project that will tie into educational curriculum at the school.

“This will be tucked away a little bit and provide some educational opportunities which is what the school is excited about. For the FFA to learn about alternative energy and that type of thing so there are some benefits with that,” said O’Brien.

Cody Doores said that EnPower will also give RCPS reduced energy rates by mirroring Dominion Energy’s power rates.

“So we purchased the land and then we’re going to gift the land back to the school and we’re going to lease that land from them. That lease payment is what’s going to give them savings every year,” said Doores.

If approved EnPower estimates the project would be completed by 2024.

The Broadway Town Council and Planning Commission will hold a joint public hearing on the proposal on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.