The latest property slated to be covered with solar panels for power generation is a 95-acre site that borders School Bus Road, just east of the town of Louisa.
Energix Aditya LLC, an Israeli company, plans an 11-megawatt solar project on 60 of the 95 acres owned by the Eugenia Rigsby Trust. Pamela Harlowe and Melonie Donovan are listed on county records as the property’s trustees. The applicants will need a conditional use permit from the Louisa County Board of Supervisors.
The 95 acres border a 1,368-acre property where solar is also planned, extending from the Davis Highway area to Northeast Creek Reservoir. That development was approved in August 2020.
Like a number of other recent solar applicants in Louisa, Energix requested an interconnection permit from an electric utility or regional transmission organization before Dec. 31, 2018. That means it is not subject to county machinery and tools taxes. The company said it will offer a $16,000 annual check to the county in addition to paying real estate taxes. The applicant also committed to a $10,000 one-time donation for broadband internet.
The project will include a minimum 150-foot vegetated buffer between property lines and the solar field. The panels won’t be installed until after the road is relocated later this year to meet Chalk Level Road at a four-way intersection.
Interest in solar in Louisa County has continued to grow since the Virginia General Assembly passed the Clean Economy Act in 2020. The legislation requires Dominion Energy to be carbon-free by 2045 and commits it to develop 16,100 megawatts of solar and onshore wind.
Just over 1,000 megawatts of that energy must be set aside for small-scale projects of less than three megawatts, according to Audrey Cannon, a Dominion spokesperson. Thirty-five percent of the 16,100 megawatts have to be purchased from a third party, so Dominion can’t be the owner of every solar project.
Stormwater runoff during construction has been a problem for the solar development currently in progress near Waldrop Church Road. Dominion, the project owner, was recently fined $50,000 by state officials for allowing sediment to escape the site and flow into a creek. In its application, Energix says it will sequence grading activities where practical to minimize the amount of open soils exposed at one time.
Energix anticipates its solar panels will operate for 35 years. At the end of that time period, they will be decommissioned and removed from the site.