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PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY

Solar project's transfer of power complete in Pittsylvania County

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Solar

Once the Firefly facility — in the southeastern portion of Pittsylvania County — is complete, it’s expected to serve customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.

A transfer of power was officially made this week for a solar facility in Pittsylvania County.

On Wednesday, Recurrent Energy announced the completion of a purchase and sale agreement with Appalachian Power for its Firefly Energy project in Pittsylvania County, a news release reported.

It marks Appalachian Power’s largest solar energy acquisition to date.

Once the facility — in the southeastern portion of Pittsylvania County — is complete, it’s expected to serve customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.

An agreement approved by the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors calls for $2.25 million in upfront payments.

It was one of three agreements approved in December by the board expected to bring about $41.6 million in revenue to the county over a 35-year span.

“We appreciate Recurrent working with the County to strike a balance that allows solar development to happen in a way that minimizes visual impact and positively impacts our community,” said Emily Ragsdale, community development director for Pittsylvania County.

The Firefly project hopes to start construction this year and be in operation by 2024, pending state and local regulatory approvals, the release stated.

“We believe that our solar ordinance, which requires siting agreements and includes stringent buffering and landscaping requirements, allows solar development to happen in a way that minimizes any visual impacts and positively impacts our community,” supervisor Bob Warren said in a statement.

The three approvals come after alterations to the county’s solar ordinance in November including an increase to the buffering and landscape mandates and increasing the distance between solar projects from 1 to 5 miles.

Another change now requires utility-scale solar facility applicants to initiate negotiations with the county for a siting agreement.

“This will be our largest solar project yet in our journey to deliver clean, reliable power to our customers,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer said in a statement. “We are eager to work with Recurrent and for the significant economic benefits construction will have on the surrounding community.”

In all, the county received $7.9 million in upfront payments from the three agreements and is expected to get about $33.7 million in tax revenue over the next 35 years.

State code dictates that revenue from the agreements go toward expanding broadband and capital projects.

“Pittsylvania County has a variety of large, unavoidable capital projects on the horizon in the near future,” leaders wrote in a December news release.

Those projects include a new jail and courthouse along with upgrades to schools.

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