Lunenburg County fire departments start seeing benefits from solar

Published 1:00 am Monday, August 28, 2023

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The millions of dollars Lunenburg County has received from solar developers who anticipate building in the county have already begun to pay off.

The county fire departments have been given an additional $75,000 per department which was approved by the board of supervisors during the adoption of the FY23/24 county budget.

According to Supervisor Wayne Hoover, these funds will be used to purchase much-needed fire apparatus.

“We want this to be a recurring thing,” Hoover said of the additional funding. “ Because fire apparatus is right now costing well over a million dollars. And for our volunteer departments, there’s not enough fundraising in the world for them to raise that kind of money. So the county wants to assist them in buying much-needed, fire apparatus.”

Erin Newman Treasurer of the Meherrin Volunteer Fire and Rescue said the capital expenditure fund has proven to be a valuable asset toward the updating of aging fire apparatus at their station. “With the additional $75,000 being approved we will be able to pay down over half of the remaining balance,” Newman said. “With the continued support of the board, our agency has been able to keep up with the ever-demanding changes to the National Fire Protection Code for fire equipment. Without this fund, our agency would be many years behind these recommendations.”

Solar funds come to Lunenburg County

Funding for the fire departments has come from funds the county has received from its first anticipated solar facility – Red Brick Solar.

Apex Clean Energy of Charlottesville and SolUnesco of Reston are set to construct a 130-megawatt solar facility with construction to begin as soon as this summer.

In April Apex Clean Energy delivered the second substantial $583,334 payment to the county.

That payment came within 30 days after the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s final approval of the permit-by-rule application.

Red Brick’s first payment to the county was $500,000 and came within 60 days after it approved the CUP last year.

According to the siting agreement, another payment of $1,083,333 will be dispersed immediately after the county approves the final building permit. Additionally, the developer will pay the county $1,083,333 immediately after commercial operation begins.