A bright future ahead for Apex

Published 8:00 am Thursday, February 9, 2023

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Despite a potential buyer for a solar facility destination for the county withdrawing its interest last month, Apex Clean Energy says the 4-megawatt project is still on track.

“The Dogwood Lane Solar project continues to be on track and is moving forward with pre-construction engineering and design activities,” Senior Development Manager Andy Hull with Apex said.

In fact, Lunenburg has already received its first substantial payment in accordance with the Siting Agreement.

According to Hull, the project successfully paid the County the first payment amount of $26,666 in accordance with the commitments made with Lunenburg County.

Taylor Newton, the county’s Director of Planning and Economic Development, said the county is currently awaiting information from the Apex pertaining to the DEQ application.

Following the disapproval of the Lunenburg Board of Supervisors (BOS) in December, the potential buyer for the proposed solar facility Dimension Renewable Energy withdrew its intent to purchase the project.

During the December meeting, Matthew Gooch, attorney for Apex, told the board that Dimension Renewable Energy might require withdrawal if the sale was not completed by the end of 2022.

During the December BOS meeting, board members became concerned about Dimension Renewable Energy and the fact that they were not informed of the potential sale or buyer at an appropriate time.

During that meeting, the BOS was made aware that Apex and Dimension had been discussing a possible project purchase for several months.

According to county documents, the Board’s consent is required for the sale or transfer of the Project or the ownership of the Developer.

“Why wasn’t the board notified of this,” said Supervisor Alvester Edmunds. “You could have come to us then. We need to know more about Dimension before doing this.”

Another significant issue was the fact that Senior Project Developer Bo McGee with Dimension Renewable Energy could not produce details about the company’s credit rating and debt ratio when inquired by Supervisor Frank Bacon.

“The information is just not there,” said Supervisor Mike Hankins.

Even with December’s disapproval of the buyer, Newton said the BOS had not changed its opinion of the project since they approved it back in late summer.

With no buyer, Hull said Apex is considering all viable options to ensure this project is successfully constructed to provide the intended benefits to the local community. “The project will collaborate with the County if a suitable buyer is identified,” Hull said.

Though the project is still in the developing stages, according to Hull, at the end of the project’s operational life, it is estimated that Dogwood Lane Solar will contribute over $750,000 to the County.

The purpose of these payments is to cover a variety of community, safety, and administrative costs associated with hosting the project in the County.

“As was discussed during the project’s public permit hearings, these payments aim to ensure that the project’s operations are not a financial burden to the County or its taxpayers,” Hull said.

The project is set to be a 4-megawatt medium-scale solar facility located on Dogwood Lane just outside Kenbridge.