As a result, Dominion Virginia Power can step up its plans of realizing the USD$35-million integrated solar and advanced energy storage facility, which is scheduled to start operations in 2012, pending regulatory approvals. The company has said it plans to ask the Virginia State Corporation Commission for approval next year.
"This grant is the kick-start to what would be the largest solar project in Virginia," said Mary C. Dowell, senior vice president-Alternative Energy Solutions for Dominion.
Dominion has said it will issue a request for proposals for the engineering, procurement and construction of the four MW solar facility, which is anticipated to be located on up to 50 acres of land in Halifax County. The company estimates that it will take about 100 construction jobs to build the solar facility.
"We want to go forward with this project to demonstrate a utility-scale solar and advanced energy storage project that can effectively manage, store, and optimize solar energy to regulate intermittency, enable peak shaving and increase grid reliability," continued Doswell. "We also are looking to create jobs and promote rural economic development in the tobacco region of Virginia."
PJM Interconnection, the independent regional transmission company that operates the electric grid in Virginia and 12 other states between Chicago and Washington, D.C., has reported that Dominion’s service area is expected to have the strongest annual growth rate in electric demand of any of its regions at 2.5 percent.
In addition to Dominion Virginia Power and the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority, the other project participants are the University of Virginia Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering and an unnamed advanced energy storage manufacturer.