Discussion tabled on new solar farm

Published 7:46 pm Thursday, June 30, 2022

A new solar project is under consideration for Buckingham County. During the Monday, June 27 Planning Commission meeting, the members voted to table the discussion until the next meeting on Monday, July 25.

The meeting introduced Case 22-SUP313 Virginia Electric and Power Company DBA Dominion Energy Virginia Pineside Solar Facility, also known as the Pineside Solar project. The applicant hoped to schedule a joint public hearing with the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors to obtain a special use permit for the solar farm. Due to the overwhelming amount of information, the Planning Commission voted to table the discussion for 30 days to allow more time to look over the details and ask more questions before making a decision.

The Pineside Solar project will be a 74.9 mega-watt utility-scale solar facility on about 2,276 acres on parcels located north of Bridgeport Road, east of Route 20, west of Hardware Road and in the Slate River Magisterial District. The area is currently zoned as Agricultural District A-1.

The landowners of this property are Freddy Snoddy, Lester and Cynthia Lacy and the Weyerhauser Co.

In light of the Riverstone Project, which won approval in November 2021, the applicant has offered multiple conditions for this project, including regular inspections, adhering to local regulations dealing with erosion and sediment, set construction hours, noise limits, creating a natural buffer, fencing, lighting, a deconstruction timeline, setbacks with property lines and waterways, training for energy services, signage for roadways and more. 

According to Edwin Giraldo, senior business development manager at Dominion Energy, if approved in a timely manner, the project will start construction in 2026 and be online in 2027. It will power about 18,000 homes, with some of those being in the county and some scattered in other areas.

“Really the big benefits are not necessarily technically electricity wise,” Giraldo said. “They’re going to be more in the ways of economics, not just to the county but indirectly to the citizens of Buckingham via some of the incremental tax revenues, both from the physical and the economic and the signing agreement. That’s where you will see the big benefit, ultimately through the citizens.”

The Planning Commission and Giraldo will talk again at the next meeting to finalize whether the county will move forward on the Pineside Solar project.