Third solar facility looks for green light

Published 8:00 am Thursday, October 6, 2022

A third solar development company is looking at Lunenburg as a home for its next project.

A project that could net the county over $5 million. 

Palladium Energy, LLC, a Florida-based renewable energy development and investment company, has submitted a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) application to the county proposing to construct a 60-megawatt facility. 

According to the developer’s CUP application, the project, known as Wheelhouse Solar, will produce enough electricity to power about 15,000 homes.

Application documents state that the facility will be located on approximately 676 acres between Fowlkes Rd. and Couches Creek Rd. in the Meherrin River District of the county.

Of these 676 acres, approximately 397 acres will be inside the fence line.

According to Palladium officials, the company has partnered with Renewable Energy Services, LLC (RES) to jointly develop Wheelhouse Solar. 

What do we know about RES?

RES is a family-owned-and-operated utility-scale solar developer based in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

The properties that Palladium is leasing for the solar facility are primarily used to grow timber, with most of the acreage being clearcut in the last five years.

According to the CUP application, Palladium says that the Solar Revenue Share will produce $1,400 per megawatt per year, increasing by 10% every five years, generating over $5 million for Lunenburg over the 40-year lifespan of the project.

Early this year, the Lunenburg Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved siting agreements and CUP for Red Brick solar and Dogwood Lane solar. 

Developers submitted their applications for Red Brick Solar in April 2020.

After more than two years of work and negotiations, the BOS acted on a CUP and siting agreement for the development of the 130 MW solar facility by Apex Clean Energy of Charlottesville and SolUnesco of Reston.

During the June 9 BOS meeting, supervisors voted to approve a siting agreement that has been at the forefront of the project’s holdup.

Before the vote, John Puvak of Gentry Locke Attorneys, who represents Red Brick Solar, said developers would be investing 16.1 million into the County for the life of the project.

“Red Brick will put up over $2 million before construction even starts,” Puvak said.

According to the siting agreement, Red Brick will pay the County the $500,000 within 60 days after the County’s approval of the CUP.

In addition, the developer will pay the County the amount of $583,334 within 30 days after the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s final approval of the permit by rule application.

More payments and plans

Another payment to the County in the amount of $1,083,333 will be dispersed immediately after the County’s approval of the final building permit, and the developer will pay the County the amount of $1,083,333 immediately after Commercial Operation.

Developers Apex Solar and ESA Solar Developers plan to construct and operate a 4-megawatt medium-scale solar facility on Dogwood Lane located just outside of Kenbridge.

The parcels consist of 32.48 acres.

A public information meeting on Wheelhouse Solar will be held on Oct. 12, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Victoria Public Library at 1417 7th street, Victoria.