RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued permits for the construction and operation of three new solar projects in Halifax and Orange counties. These new solar projects are expected to generate more than 200 megawatts (MW) combined, which is enough electricity to power more than 25,000 homes.
The projects include:
“These projects represent a new phase in energy development in Virginia—one that is focused on renewable energy technologies and diverse energy resources,” said Governor Northam. “The acceleration of solar development across Virginia is attracting new opportunities for employment and investment in renewable energy, and we are committed to growing and expanding this key industry to ensure that families, businesses, and communities can continue to thrive in every corner of our Commonwealth.”
“Renewable power like solar helps offset the effects of pollution produced by carbon-based fuels,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “Cypress Creek Renewables and Carolina Solar are valued partners in these important efforts, and we will continue to work with them to ensure Virginia shifts to a more modern, resilient and environmentally responsible electric grid.”
These solar projects are anticipated to offset the generation of approximately 345,598,101 pounds of carbon dioxide, 246,587 pounds of nitrogen oxides and 283,928 pounds of sulfur dioxide otherwise produced by fossil fuel-based electricity generation. These pollutants contribute to global warming and smog.
“These three solar energy projects will bring new jobs and business opportunities to Southern and Central Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Investments in renewable energy protect the environment, reduce energy costs, and spur economic growth. These projects are a win for both our economy and our environment.”
Over the last five years, Virginia has seen a dramatic increase in its solar facility capacity, increasing the state’s overall generation from 17 MW in 2014 to more than 350 MW in 2019.
“DEQ has permitted more than 1,000 MW of renewable energy sources since 2015, and we are pleased to report that the agency has received notices of intent for an additional 3,429 MW from planned installations,” said DEQ Director David Paylor.
DEQ provides guidance for solar applicants on pre-construction natural resource analysis, mitigation plans, post-construction monitoring, and more. Additional information on Virginia’s solar energy program is available on DEQ’s website.
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