New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | November 18, 2018

Proposed solar facility in Charles City clears first hurdle

By Robb Johnson | October 26, 2018 9:46 pm

As the trend of renewable energy continues to grow, one company has requested a special use permit to construct a facility in Charles City to harness solar energy.

Charles City’s Planning Commission issued a favorable vote of 5-1-1 to forward to the board of supervisors a permit for Keydet Solar Project.

Daniel Menaham, the senior manager of project development for sPower, presented a presentation to commissioners and more than 50 members of the public of the proposed 340-megawatt solar energy facility. The facility would cover nearly 2,300 acres of land in the Harrison Magisterial District on Roxbury Road (Route 106) near Cattail Road. The proposal would see the plant be the home of solar panels surrounded by fences. Menaham added that the location of the fence is positioned to be 300 feet from the floor, saying it would be out of sight from the highway as laid out in the request for the conditional use permit.

According to Menaham, the project would generate anywhere between 500-700 jobs, with county residents having first dibs of positions. Job titles include solar technicians, laborers, equipment operators, electricians, and landscapers. Other benefits that may come from the plant include a minimal lifespan of 35 years for the plant, with an annual revenue of $350,000 to the county. In addition to the payout, approximately five to six acres of land could be designated for a new Fire and EMS station in the Roxbury area.

Citizens raised concerns at the public hearing, with Menahem reassuring that soil nor hazardous material would affect the area. He added that a pre-construction evaluation must be approved by Virginia’s Department of Transportation (VDOT), with Wayside Road, Waymacks Road, Barnetts Road, and Cattail Road off limits to construction traffic.

With minimum resistance, commissioners passed the terms of the agreement. The special use permit will now head to an additional public hearing that will be hosted by the county’s board of supervisors at a later day.