City of Danville celebrates completion of $10 million solar farm project

WGL Energy, Sol Systems and City of Danville representatives officially open the Kentuck Solar Farm in Ringgold with a ribbon cutting. (@CourtnyJodonTV)

DANVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- Kentuck Solar Project stakeholders, WGL Energy Systems, and Sol Systems came to celebrate the completion of a 6-megawatt solar farm in Danville Wednesday morning.

The 76-acre solar farm located at 2048 Kentuck Church Road will provide enough carbon-free electricity to power 1,200 homes every year, supply 1.5 percent of the City’s power needs and establish long-term cost certainty for the utility.

“The City of Danville is thrilled to showcase an innovative project that reflects our commitment to creatively deliver long-term energy capacity to serve the community," Director of Danville Utilities Jason Grey said.

It launched in May 2017 when Former Governor Terry McAuliffe and the City of Danville had a roundtable discussion on the Clean Energy Jobs tour.

“We applaud the collaborative work and leadership from a distinguished group, and are proud to support Danville’s dedication to embrace the benefits of sustainable energy, including stabilized prices. We look forward to more opportunities to deliver diverse energy solutions in the state," said Sanjiv Mahan, President, WGL Energy.

The initiative created 80 jobs during construction, boosted the local economy and provided long-term, integrated resource planning for the City of Danville.

WGL Energy serves as owner and operator of the project and Sol Systems has overseen the design, construction and financing of the system.

"Solar and renewables are the future, WGL Energy's Director of Sales Chris Mathey said. "It's gonna provide clean, reliable electricity for the next 25 years."

The City of Danville Department of Utilities is purchasing the energy at an agreed upon rate from the fully installed photovoltaic (PV) solar facility for the next twenty-five years to diversify to its energy and capacity portfolio.

"It's $72 a megawatt hour and that's for the 25-year, but we don't have to pay transmission congestion so that's a savings to us," Grey said.

The site location stretches between Dan River Middle School, Kentuck Elementary, and Dan River High School, and connects to several sections of private property.

"A lot of solar systems are fixed; the panels are in one plane all day long," Grey said. "These panels [at the Kentuck Solar Farm] are tracking. They are actually motorized and move with the sun in order to get maximum generation."

The project was a $10 million investment.

Grey said over the 25-year span, millions of dollars will be saved because of this farm.

Grey could not give a dollar-amount figure with how much it will save the average customer, but said the farm will not be vulnerable to increasing transmission rates.

Grey said the Danville Pittsylvania County are trends well for solar farms.

He explained that it's possible down the road, if it makes sense economically, they could potentially have another solar farm in the area in the future.

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