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October 27, 2017

20-megawatt Remington solar farm goes on the grid

Photos/Lawrence Emerson
Investing in clean energy “helps keep Virginia in the forefront of economic development,” Microsoft Director of Energy Markets Jim Collins says.
I admit that this 20-megawatt Remington (plant) will always be one of my favorites, due to its proximity to my family’s farm. I do think that it is one of the most beautiful solar projects we have, as it is laid out so nicely on the rolling hills.
— Ruth Prideaux, Dominion Energy director of generation construction, who grew up near Marshall
Remington Solar Farm
• Ribbon cutting: Thursday, Oct. 26.

• What: 20-megawatt solar plant capable of generating electricity to power 5,000 homes.

• Where: 12080 Lucky Hill Road, near Remington.

• Owner: Dominion Virginia Power.

• Size: 236,000 panels on 125 acres.

• Cost: $46 million.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
More than 200,000 black glass panels stretch across picturesque, former farmland in Southern Fauquier County.

Donning a neon yellow safety vest, hardhat and leather work gloves, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Thursday afternoon helped install the final piece of Dominion Energy’s first solar farm in Fauquier.

The $46 million development stands on 125 acres that Dominion owns along Lucky Hill Road east of Remington.

About 60 citizens, along with county and state government officials, gathered on a cool fall day for the governor’s dedication ceremony.

But, the occasion proved particularly exciting for a Dominion employee with Fauquier roots.

Growing up near Marshall, Ruth Prideaux, director of generation construction at Dominion Energy, never imagined a solar farm coming to Fauquier. Her parents are Henry and Ursula Baxley.

A 27-year Dominion employee, Ms. Prideaux oversaw the solar farm construction near Remington.

“Dominion Energy has built well over a gigawatt of solar plants across the United States over the past few years, and I take great pride in the entire fleet of renewable energy facilities that the company has built,” she said.

“But I admit that this 20-megawatt Remington will always be one of my favorites, due to its proximity to my family’s farm. I do think that it is one of the most beautiful solar projects we have, as it is laid out so nicely on the rolling hills.”  

Because Dominion owned the property and transmission lines near Remington, it proved to be the perfect spot, explained.

Solar farms “need a lot of acreage,” Ms. Prideaux said. “It’s hard to find acreage available. I think it does fit in with the landscape as well. (Solar farms are) good neighbors, quiet.”

She believes solar energy could provide options for farmers who own large tracts of land and want to “diversify.”

When the sun shines, the unmanned, 20-megawatt plant will generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes.

“It’s good energy for Virginia, taxpayers and the environment,” Dominion Energy’s Power Generation President Paul Koonce said.

Dominion Energy has 744 megawatts of solar generation in operation or under development in Virginia.

“This means high paying jobs in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Gov. McAuliffe said. “You cannot recruit Microsoft, Amazon . . . . if you can’t provide them with renewable energy.”

The array of 236,000 panels started generating electricity Oct. 1.

As part of its commitment to renewable energy, Microsoft purchased Renewable Energy Certificates from Dominion to help fund construction of the solar farm.

Investing in clean energy “helps keep Virginia in the forefront of economic development in the future,” Microsoft’s Director of Energy Markets Jim Collins said.

Ms. Prideaux said partnering with Microsoft and the state “helped this project come to life.”

Under a 25-year contract, the Commonwealth of Virginia will buy electricity from the plant at a reduced rate, saving taxpayers $1 million over the life of the agreement.

Installation of the solar panels began in February.

The plant also will contribute about $70,000 annually in county tax revenue, according to the utility company.

Despite some opposition, Fauquier’s board of supervisors in May 2015 rezoned the land, which a skeet shooting range operator had leased.

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