Solar Farm could bring millions

Published 12:32 pm Thursday, February 4, 2021

Following a closed session meeting Monday, Jan. 25, the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted to hold a public hearing on a siting agreement.

Supervisors also proposed implementing revenue sharing for solar energy projects as part of the county’s latest proposed solar facility.

The meeting was held in a closed session due to consultation with legal counsel regarding negotiations with NOVI Energy, the solar project applicant.

NOVI Energy proposes to construct a solar facility known as Courthouse Solar on 1,354 acres just southwest of Charlotte Court House on 12 parcels owned by Blue Rock Resources, LLC, Ridgeway Farm LLC, and Robert Locke.

As part of the project, the BOS proposes adopting an ordinance to amend the Charlotte County Code of Ordinances to implement revenue sharing for solar energy projects, pursuant to Virginia Code.

If approved, the ordinance would authorize a revenue share of $1,400.00 per megawatt, as measured in alternating current (AC) generation capacity of the solar facility.

According to documents provided with the proposed ordinance, Courthouse Solar’s revenue projections to the county are expected to be $15,073,226 over a 35-year span.

Following the Jan. 25 closed session, Supervisors Kay Pierantoni and Donna Fore cast the lone no votes not to proceed with public hearings on Feb. 8 at 6:05 p.m.

“We got this information tonight, and we went into closed session and did not have any knowledge of what was going to be discussed,” Pierantoni said. “And to make a decision on millions of dollars and potentially change Charlotte County without any information ahead of time and information I brought forth has not been duly considered … I’ll be voting no.”

The siting agreement legislation intends to allow the local governments to address certain community needs and allow the solar project developer to help address those needs.

The siting agreement may include terms and conditions including mitigation of any impacts of such a solar facility; financial compensation to address the locality’s capital needs as set out in the locality’s capital improvement plan, its current fiscal budget or its fiscal funds balance policy; or assistance with deploying broadband in the locality.

Over the past months, the Courthouse Solar project has been met with both support and opposition during public hearings held by both the planning commission and the BOS.

Citizens have expressed concerns over the site construction entrance, wetlands, set back requirements, taxes, toxically levels, land use, and the overall disruption to the area’s aesthetics.