Solar project moves closer

Published 2:32 pm Thursday, March 4, 2021

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Representatives with Charlottesville based Apex Clean Energy, the applicant of Charlotte County’s next solar facility, held a public meeting Tuesday, Feb. 23, as part of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Permit by Rule (PBR) process.

The Moody Creek Solar project calls for the construction of a 150-megavolt utility-scale solar facility (equivalent to 25,000 homes worth of energy). The proposed site, owned by Devein Logging Company/John A. Devin, Jr. & Armistead Tune Devin, is located on Route 47, Crafton’s Gate Highway, approximately 1.4 miles east of the traffic light at the intersection of Highway 360/15 and Route 47.

The Moody Creek project has been in the works since Apex Clean Energy and SolUnesco submitted a conditional use permit (CUP) application at the end of 2018.

The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Moody Creek Solar CUP in August 2019.

During the live telephone public meeting Jimmy Merrick, the project developer, gave a verbal presentation that included a company overview of Apex Clean Energy, a project overview, and a project status update.

The solar facility is set to be constructed on property that is approximately 1,655 acres in size.

The solar project will be connected to the existing 115kV Pamplin to Chase City transmission line that crosses the project property and will include the installation of solar panel arrays, inverters, electrical transmission lines, an electric substation, other electrical equipment, gravel access roads, and fencing to secure the project area.

In total, approximately 555,000 solar panels will be installed after all project phases are completed.

According to Apex Clean Energy Public Engagement Manager Natasha Montague, Moody Creek Solar is currently undergoing Virginia’s Permit by Rule process and last week’s meeting was part of that permit process.

A PBR establishes pollution limits.

Through the PBR, DEQ coordinates reviews from the Department of Historic Resources, the Department of Wildlife Resources and the Department of Conservation and Recreation to ensure potential significant impacts to cultural or threatened and endangered species are avoided or mitigated.

Some of the requirements for the PBR include conducting surveys for cultural and biological resources, developing mitigation plans if necessary and receiving local government approval.

During the PBR meeting, no citizens raised questions or comments.

Montague said citizens may still comment on the project at until Mar. 6.

“After the public comment period ends, the Moody Creek Solar team will integrate public feedback and submit a final PBR application to the DEQ for review,” Montague said. “Support from Charlotte County and residents has been essential to the success of this project, and we look forward to seeing the benefits of this project come to fruition in Charlotte County.”

Montague said the Moody Creek Solar project would be a new source of economic development to the county, including long-term local and state tax revenue for schools, government services, and public infrastructure.

According to Apex Clean Energy construction on the Moody Creek facility is expected to begin in December.