Massive solar power plant in Virginia is operational


SPOTSYLVANIA, Virginia (AP) – A massive Virginia solar power plant that sparked a flood of opposition when it was first proposed is now more than half complete and is sending electricity into the grid.

The first phases of the Spotsylvania solar center generate 259 megawatts per day, supplying electricity to some of the companies that bought the energy rights, the Free Lance-Star reported. Among them are Apple, Microsoft and the University of Richmond, which has pledged to receive electricity credits from the facility in rural western county of Spotsylvania.

The remaining part of the solar installation is expected to be online by fall, AES Corp spokesperson Helen Humphries told the newspaper. The plant is on its way to becoming one of the largest in the United States, with around 1.8 million panels generating 484 megawatts per day.

While many nearby residents objected in 2018 and 2019 when the developer sought special use permits, the newspaper reports that there is less discussion now.

Sean Fogerty, one of the leaders of an opposition group of residents in the area, said time will tell if concerns such as impacts on home values, future decommissioning of the site and an effect of ‘Heat island’ will come true.

“It’s a huge test case,” he said.

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