More solar facilities could be on the way for Charlotte County

Published 2:19 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2023

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Just a month after a moratorium on new applications for solar facilities was rescinded, four developers are now looking at Charlotte County as a possible location.

During the April Board of Supervisors meeting, in the County administrator’s report, it was stated that four companies had shown interest in the county. 

In a Monday interview Assistant County Administrator Monica Elder confirmed the inquiries about four potential utility-scale solar projects.

“New Energy Equity LLC has submitted preliminary applications for two utility-scale solar projects that are under five megawatts,” Elder said. “They are currently working on application revisions based on comments recently provided by the Zoning Administrator. The other two developers have not yet submitted their applications, so we are unable to provide their names at this time.”

If the four developers decide to seek a location in the county and all is approved, that would put 10 solar facilities in Charlotte.

Current solar facilities in Charlotte County

At present, the six solar facilities span over an area of approximately 26,300 acres, which is equivalent to about 8.5 percent of the county’s entire land. The application documents reveal that all the projects are expected to be developed on land that was previously used for farming or timbering. However, out of all the facilities, only the Twitty’s Creek Solar project, generating 15 megawatts in Drakes Branch, has been completed.

It was last July that the BOS approved what will be one of the largest solar projects in the nation. At over 20,000 acres and 800-MW, the Randolph Solar Project came under fire and was debated for years before being approved.

A month later, after approval, the BOS put a moratorium on accepting any Conditional Use Permit (CUP) applications for solar facilities.

That was set to be in effect until January 2024.

At the March BOS meeting just seven months after the moratorium was put in place, Carol Ching, an attorney from Roanoke who has been working with several landowners regarding the moratorium, addressed the board.

Ching told members that the moratorium was invalid under the Dillon Rule. “It would be a waste of the county’s resources to incur legal fees to continue to pursue that moratorium,” Ching said.