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Hearing set for Red Brick Solar

The Lunenburg County Planning Commission is set to hold a public hearing next week on the county’s latest solar facility plan to determine if the applicant’s project is in accordance with Lunenburg’s comprehensive plan.

The public hearing will be held Tuesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. at the Lunenburg County Courthouse for a conditional use permit for Red Brick LLC., to construct and operate a utility-scale solar facility located on 21 individual parcels of property.

The applicants, Red Brick Solar, Apex Clean Energy and SolUnesco,

submitted an official conditional use permit application to Lunenburg in early April 2020 but withdrew its request in July after there were more topics the company wanted to build upon, according to Jaci Friedley, director of public engagement with Apex Clean Energy.

In January, representatives from Apex Clean Energy and SolUnesco recently held a virtual community meeting informing the 46 attendees of the scale and scope of the company’s project.

SolUnesco CEO Francis Hodsoll said the project would place a solar photovoltaic power plant across 935 acres situated in north-central Lunenburg County, about four miles southwest of Victoria.

According to Hodsoll, the project would benefit the county and provide a key source of revenue for the county.

“This project does not impact county services,” Hodsoll said. “There will be no new road to be built, and we will utilize the natural layout of the land to reduce the amount of grading that will be done.”

Hodsoll said the project would increase local tax revenues by an additional $205,000 annually throughout the project’s life.

“Right now, that land provides the county $12,000 in taxes annually,” he said. “With this project, it will provide the county $217,000 a year in tax revenue.”

According to Hodsoll, the Red Brick Project would be selling its electricity to a third party.

“This means this would have no effect on what people in Lunenburg pay for their electricity either more or less,” he said.

Hodsoll said Red Brick’s plan would be to connect to an existing transmission line that runs from Chase City to Lunenburg.

The facility is expected to generate enough energy to power more than 26,000 homes.

According to Hodsoll, Red Brick Solar construction is estimated to begin in 2022, with operations starting in 2023.

The life expectancy of the project is projected to be 35 to 50 years.