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New solar facility considered in Buckingham

A new solar facility may be coming to Buckingham County.

At the Monday, June 8, Buckingham Board of Supervisors meeting, the board voted to set a public hearing regarding the proposed construction of a solar panel farm in the county.

Adam Ventre, director of development for Hexagon Energy, said the company proposes to develop and construct Black Bear Solar in Buckingham.

The facility, if constructed, would be located on the south-western side of Belle Branch Road on Route 667, approximately nine miles northeast of Dillwyn.

Ventre said all of the clean energy generated by the facility will be delivered to the Dominion power grid.

“Black Bear Solar is pursuing a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Dominion Energy to sell the power generated from the facility,” he added. “If successful, the power would be used for a community solar program whereby Dominion customers could subscribe to purchase their power from Black Bear Solar, giving Virginians access to local, clean energy.”

Hexagon Energy, according to Ventre, is a Charlottesville-based business which works with communities across the commonwealth to site, develop and construct solar energy systems that benefit communities, deliver clean energy, and help grow the local economy.

He said the company was drawn to the site in Buckingham County due to its distance from roads and neighbors, guaranteeing the project can easily remain out of sight.

“Black Bear Solar will bring local spending on goods and services during construction, an opportunity for residents of Buckingham County to gain training and a job in an industry growing faster than our overall economy, and an increase in real property tax revenue after the land is re-appraised at a higher rate with its new, higher value land use.”

At the Monday board meeting, supervisors discussed new legislation, effective July 1, that changes how some solar farms are taxed at the county-level.

Ventre said that the legislation only impacts utility scale solar projects larger than 5 MW, and that Black Bear Solar, as a small community solar project, is not included in these changes.

Ventre said if Black Bear Solar is approved, the company hopes to begin construction by the end of 2020, completing the project in mid 2021.

The public hearing for the facility will take place July 13.