New solar farm near Danville to power more than 900 homes


DANVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Construction is set to begin this summer in the Danville area on what state officials say will be Virginia's largest municipal utility solar farm.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday that work will start in August on the Kentuck Solar project, a 6-megawatt solar array that will generate power for Danville Municipal Utility.

“The clean energy industry holds great potential for economic development in all parts of Virginia, especially areas like Southside that have struggled with job growth as core industries have declined,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I am pleased to see the leadership that Danville Municipal Utility is taking to provide its customers with more renewable energy that is cost competitive with fossil fuels. The City of Danville is taking the lead on this issue in Virginia and I am hopeful other communities will follow its example and reap the economic and community benefits that come from increased use of renewable energy.”

A statement from the governor's office says that when operational, the solar farm in Pittsylvania County will generate enough electricity to power over 900 homes.

Laura Mccoy is the owner of the Corner Cafe, it is right across the street from where the new solar farm will be.

"This is going to be an energy provider that's going to be clean to the air and atmosphere, you're not going to have smoke, and coal, going up to the air anymore," said McCoy.

Jason Grey, the Director of Danville Utilities says it currently has around 42,000 customers.

"We peak during the afternoon hours between 2-4 and that's when a solar farm is at it's highest capacity," explained Grey, "This is a way for us to stabilize a small portion of our rates."

"Working with private and public sector partners to increase solar energy production in Virginia is a key priority of this administration," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. "Almost 200 megawatts of solar have been installed in Virginia since 2014 and solar jobs have increased 65% over the last year, making the Commonwealth one of the fastest growing solar job markets in the country. I am proud that my home region is embracing the renewable energy industry."

The project is slated to be completed by the end of 2017.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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