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Montross gains solar facility

Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 9:52 am

Anyone going down King’s Highway and past the A.T. Johnson building during the last eight months will have noticed the solar farm project under construction. Questions have been asked about the facility countless times, ranging from who owns the land it’s on, to how much money it’ll bring into the county, all the way to its impact on the environs. The facility, as it turns out, is not only on time to be finished by the end of the year, weather permitting, but also stands to bring a significant amount of money into the county. The facility itself is slated to have a 35-year life span, and the project will not cost the county taxpayers a dime.

The project got started when Dominion Power Co. approached Gary Sisson with the prospect of constructing a 20-megawatt solar facility on his land. The 180-acre parcel had been selected due to being relatively level, largely clear of vegetation, and very accessible to interconnection with the rest of the county’s power grid. Gary Sisson accepted the offer to lease his land: “I’ve lived here all my life,” commented Sisson, “and this looked like a good way to not just help my family in my later years, but also help bring money into the county.”

The project cleared the Board of Supervisors in February, and has been under construction ever since. By this time, the site will have been prepared, and the posts and racking installed. Going by the projected schedule, the panels and wiring are going to be installed. Once that is finished, all that’s left is to interconnect it to the power grid. The ETA on it going into service remains around December. Even before the facility is finished, however, it has been bringing money in.

The group contracted to build the facility, Mortenson Construction, is headquartered in Minneapolis, but have regional offices all over the country. The company held a job fair back in July, calling for everyone from water truck and forklift operators and carpenters to mechanics, electricians, and heavy equipment operators. Once the facility is up and running, Dominion also intends to hire a third party to perform maintenance and routine operations at this site, as well as their other solar facilities.

The Westmoreland Solar Farm is expected to be up and running by December. (Photo by Andrew Hynson)

For the full article, pick up the latest Westmoreland News 9/12/18