County leases 800 acres to solar developer

The Louisa County Industrial Development Authority approved a lease of 800 acres it owns between Chalk Level and Chopping roads to a solar energy developer.

North Carolina-based Two Oaks Solar LLC will lease the so-called Cooke property for up to five and a half years while it decides whether to pursue an actual solar project, for an upfront charge of $45,000. The lease also includes fees of $75, $100 and $125 per acre in 18-month intervals during the five-and-a-half-year period.

If it moves forward with construction, the developer would rent the land for $700 per acre each year that the project is in service.

The solar project could generate up to 150 megawatts of energy, according to Andy Wade, Louisa County economic development director. He presented the draft lease to the Louisa County Board of Supervisors at their Aug. 17 meeting.

Supervisor Toni Williams (Jackson District) commented that the company could tie up most uses of the property for almost six years, for a relatively small amount of money. The IDA has earned some revenue from timber leases since it bought the property from the William A. Cooke Foundation in 2015.

“It’s been tied up for 10 years and produced nothing,” Wade said.

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