Dominion Energy acquires utility-scale pollinator solar project in Virginia


Longroad Energy, a U.S. based renewable energy developer, owner, and operator, announced the sale of its 108 MWdc (83 MWac) Foxhound Solar project to Dominion Energy.

Foxhound has been in development for six years and is expected to produce enough clean energy to power more than 17,000 homes and energy generated will represent approximately 45,000 metric tons of avoided CO2 emissions annually, the equivalent of taking more than 10,000 cars off the road each year.

The project, which is located in Halifax County, Virginia, has reached full notice to proceed and has begun construction. Financial close of the Foxhound acquisition is expected upon mechanical completion of the project which is anticipated for January 2024.

“Foxhound marks Longroad’s first solar project in Virginia and our first greenfield development project in PJM,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of Longroad Energy. “We are pleased that Dominion Energy will be acquiring Foxhound to help support the sustainability goals of its key customers and renewable energy objectives set out in the Virginia Clean Economy Act. The project will be an important resource for Halifax County, and we are proud of Foxhound’s certification as Virginia Pollinator-Smart for its biodiversity commitments.”

First Solar is supplying Foxhound with its U.S.-made Series 6+ solar modules. Nextracker is supplying trackers for the project and TMEIC is supplying the solar inverters. During construction the project is projected to employ 150 to 200 workers.

Foxhound is the first utility-scale project to be certified as Virginia Pollinator-Smart, a biodiversity program overseen by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). As part of its certification, the Foxhound project will use native plant species under the solar panels and a pollinator-friendly seed mix around the arrays. The project’s use of pollinator plant species will help support native insect, bird and other wildlife populations while improving soil stabilization and water retention among many other ecosystem services.

“Planting species native to Virginia – whether at our state parks, on a solar energy facility, or in your backyard – helps to preserve the Commonwealth’s special natural heritage and biodiversity,” said Matt Wells, Virginia DCR director. “The benefits of Foxhound’s pollinator habit – both around the array and under the panels – will have a positive impact both on the project and the surrounding area. We commend Longroad Energy’s commitment to supporting biodiversity by being the first utility-scale solar project to achieve Virginia Pollinator-Smart certification.”

In addition to generating property taxes for Halifax County and the State of Virginia, Foxhound has also made a contribution of $200,000 to Halifax County that will be used to support county services like Fire/EMS and other economic development efforts.

An offtaker, yet unnamed, has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement. KeyBank N.A. and HSBC served as lenders. Balch & Bingham served as Longroad’s counsel on the transaction.

Dominion Energy, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, has stated that it is committed to providing reliable, affordable and sustainable energy and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.  The utility recently announced that it is seeking both utility-scale projects located in Virginia that are greater than 3 MW as well as distributed projects that are 3 MW or less. The projects will also help the company achieve the requirements of the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) and its own net zero goals. The VCEA mandates that the state, via a renewable portfolio standard, must derive at least 1% of its generation mix from solar energy.

This article was amended 4/12/23 to remove T-Mobile as the offtaker.

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