County selected for solar farm

A North Carolina-based solar energy company has selected a site outside of Chase City to become the firm’s second project in Virginia.
Carolina Solar Energy confirmed on Tuesday that the company is planning to build a solar farm on Spanish Grove Road near Chase City.
“We were looking for land with certain characteristics, and we found them in Chase City,” explained Carson Harkrader, Director of Project Development with Carolina Solar Energy.
Carolina Solar Energy plans on building a 330-acre solar farm outside of Chase City on Spanish Grove Road.
The company has filed a special exception permit request with Mecklenburg County for the “Bluestone Farm.” The plan calls for a 70MWdc farm to be located on the south side of Highway 684 (Spanish Grove Road) approximately half a mile west of Highway 47.
The Chase City project is one of five projects in development with other projects in North Carolina including Louisburg, Nash County, Grifton and Vance County.
Founded in 2004, the company also has operating farms scattered throughout North Carolina and customers ranging from Duke and Progress Energy to Dominion Power. In total, Carolina Solar Energy has developed more than 110MW of solar projects.
On Monday, Harkrader said that the Bluestone Solar Farm marks the firm’s second project in Virginia. “We have one other project in Virginia,” she said, “located in the eastern part of the state.”
Solar, she added, is a rapidly growing force in the energy market and that business seems to be picking up.
Construction of a farm, said Harkrader, generally takes eight to 10 months, and the firm hopes to be up and running in Chase City in 2018.
“Each county has a different process that they follow that goes with their ordinances, so we follow the requirements in regards to applying,” said Harkrader. “It really helps us because it lays out all the requirements we need to get the solar farm in that county.”
During the construction phase, she said, the project would employ a large number of employees. Once completed, she admitted, solar farms do not require a large workforce.
“Longterm, solar isn’t a large employer,” she said. “What helps the locality is the tax influx into the county. Longterm, property and taxes are substantial and require no investments from the county. There are no new roads needed, no new schools for the counties to pay for.”
And, she added, the solar farms also bring new investments and projects to the area.
“It’s clean energy, and it’s beneficial to the counties,” she said.
Public hearings on the project are set for Oct. 27 beginning at 7:30 p.m. by the Mecklenburg County Planning Commission and on Monday, Nov. 7, at 9:30 a.m. by the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors. Both meetings will take place in the board of supervisors meeting room, Goode Bank Building, located at 350 Washington Street, Boydton.