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Solar farm at Hartfield to cover 120 acres with 58,000 panels

Workers install pilings on which solar panels will be placed at the Puller Solar Facility being built by Dominion Energy on 120 acres near Hartfield. Dominion expects the facility to be operational by December 2018. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

Solar power’s future is sunny especially in Middlesex County where Dominion Energy is building the Puller Solar Facility on Route 33 near Hartfield. Once completed, it will feature 58,000 solar panels on 120 acres producing 15 megawatt (MW) of electricity, said Daisy Pridgen, a Dominion Energy spokesperson.

Grading began about April 10 and is progressing quickly, thanks to good weather. This week workers were installing pilings on which the solar panels will be mounted, and Dominion Energy is erecting poles and working on power lines.

A good start
Dominion Energy has made significant progress in developing solar energy in Virginia, said Pridgen. In 2015, Dominion Energy had around 1 MW of solar-generated electricity on less than 10 acres, said Pridgen. Three years later, as of March 2018, Dominion has 744 megawatts on more than 5,500 acres. That 744 MW can power 186,000 homes at peak output.

Amazon Web Services partnered with Community Energy to build the largest solar facility in the mid-Atlantic. Located on 1,000 acres in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore, the solar farm can generate 80 MW.

In addition, Dominion Energy has many programs in place or in the works to help customers large and small meet their desired renewable energy goals. More information on solar initiatives and programs can be found at

“A big win”
In November 2017, Middlesex County Public Schools (MCPS) authorized construction of a 1 MW solar photovoltaic system at Middlesex Elementary School to provide 100% of electricity to the elementary school and St. Clare Walker Middle School.

The Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Sun Tribe Solar and the Middlesex schools is a landmark achievement in Virginia. It is the second largest solar installation to date with a public school system (grades K-12) in the Commonwealth.

Sun Tribe will build, own, operate and maintain the solar photovoltaic system for the life of the 25-year agreement. Solar generated electricity will be sold to the school system at a guaranteed rate of .068KwH, which is cheaper than electricity from the conventional sources. MCPS is expected to save over $2.5 million in electricity costs over the life of the system, according to Sun Tribe Solar of Charlottesville.

“With absolutely no investment by the school system or county, and annual projected savings in excess of $50,000, this is a big win for Middlesex,” said school superintendent Dr. Peter Gretz. 

Construction is set to be completed by August 2018.

posted 05.09.2018

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