Dominion acquires 240 MW-AC of solar in Virginia

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Virginia power giant Dominion Energy announced a major boost to the company’s solar portfolio today, with the acquisition of 240MW-AC of projects from developer Urban Grid.

The acquisition involves two ongoing solar projects in Surry County, Virginia. The Colonial Trail West Solar project is the larger of the two, registering at 142 MW-AC while the other, Spring Grove Solar I, comes in with 98 MW-AC.

The deal was partly enabled by the controversial Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018. The act allows Virginia’s two monopoly utility companies, Dominion and Appalachian Power to use excess profits towards projects aimed at modernizing the grid, investing in renewable energy production or improving energy efficiency. Opponents of the measure have argued that it gives too little oversight to monopoly utilities and weakens the State Corporation Commission, which regulates the utilities.

The projects individually are larger than any other Dominion-owned solar facilities in the state. Together, Colonial Trail and Spring Grove I will represent just over 50% of the utility’s installed solar capacity in Virginia and will be the largest solar projects to come online in the state, at least until sPower builds its massive 500 MW, four-part project.

Dominion’s next largest project is the Amazon Solar farm, a solar alliance with Amazon Web Services. Located across the Chesapeake Bay from the Surry projects, the Amazon Solar Alliance is a conglomerate of four project sites; Buckingham, New Kent, Scott and Sappony, which each produce a quarter of the project’s 80 MW capacity.

Both projects are set to begin construction in 2019, with Colonial Trail set to go online in December of 2019 and Spring Grove following just under a year later in October of 2020.

Urban Grid President Frank DePew expressed his excitement at his company’s sale of the projects, saying in a release:

We are excited to have such a strong and proven owner of solar projects here in the Commonwealth of Virginia acquire these two exceptional solar projects from Urban Grid and are pleased to be able to assist Dominion Energy with achieving their renewable energy goals.

Due to the early nature of development, decisions as to what panels and hardware the project will use have not been made available yet. The projects are set to create an estimated 720 jobs during construction.