Solar generation project proposed near Kidds Store

By Heather Michon

A Richmond-based solar startup held a community meeting at The Light Academy on Wednesday night (Oct. 12) to introduce its plans for a new solar generation project near Kidds Store.

CEP Solar hopes to develop the 355-acre site as White Oak Solar Farm. The 38-megawatt facility would produce enough capacity to power approximately 4,100 homes.

Manager and founding partner Tyson Utt said the property, which sits between Shores Road and Hardware Road just south of Kidds Store, is currently used for timber harvesting. The landowners reached out to CEP Solar to see if they were interested in developing the site.

A major bonus of the property is its proximity to Dominion Energy’s transmission lines. Utt said the solar farm could be connected to the power distribution system.

Utt and CEP Solar co-founder Richard Wright said White Oak Solar Farm would be almost entirely hidden from view by existing vegetation. Solar panels rarely exceed 15 feet in height. Once in operation, they are virtually noiseless and require little or no staff.

The project is currently in the very early stages of development, and the company has not yet formally filed its plans with the county. Utt said they anticipate the whole process of getting the project approved and built would realistically take around three years.  

Solar is a growing segment of Fluvanna County’s energy development. In 2018, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) dedicated the Palmer Solar Center in Troy and is currently constructing a small facility near the Cunningham substation near Lake Monticello. Fluvanna County Public Schools is one of a number of Virginia school districts to turn to solar to keep energy costs down through a partnership with Sun Tribe Solar, which has installed rooftop panels on several county school buildings.

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