250MW solar project planned for former West Virginia coal mine

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SEVA WV has gained approval to build a solar project on the site of a former coal mine, the likes of which West Virginia has never before seen. Not only is the Sun Park installation set to be the largest solar project in the state, its 250MW of capacity multiplies the state’s PV capacity by a factor of ten.

The solar array will be developed by Savion, while SEVA WV will lead other developments in a multi-phase project to revitalize the area of the former mine, with additional industry, lodging, hospitality, and recreation investments planned, including  80 miles of new trails as an extension of the Hatfield-McCoy ATV system.

The project is set to be located 3,000-acres of what used to be the Hobet surface mine site in southern West Virginia, according to project officials. Up to 300 workers are expected to be employed during construction, with the total project cost estimated to come in at around $320 million, which is considerably more than the $54 million in total solar investment in the state previously, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

According to data from SEIA and Wood Mackenzie, the state of West Virginia, as a whole, has installed just 18 MW of solar, the third-least in the entire US. Sun Park will also dethrone what was set to be the largest installation in the state: EDF Renewables’ 92.5MW Wild Hill Solar project, which is set to be constructed on 795 acres of agricultural land in Jefferson County.

In 2020, the state passed a bill that authorizes electric utilities to own and operate up to 200 MW of renewable generation facilities to help meet the state’s electricity needs. A statement said the addition of new renewable generation may encourage economic development, as a “growing number of companies” require that a portion of the electricity they buy be generated by renewable sources.

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