New solar facility in Campbell Co. to power 2,600 homes

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 6:23 PM EDT
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CAMPBELL CO., Va. (WDBJ) - The Depot Solar Facility in Campbell County is the third solar project Appalachian Power has brought online in less than a year.

The more-than-50,000 solar panels produce 15 Megawatts of energy, enough electricity to power 2,600 homes.

A ribbon-cutting Thursday afternoon celebrated the successful completion of the project near Rustburg, but it’s been in service since mid-July.

The global company, hep energy, built the solar farm and operates it. It’s the company’s first project in Virginia.

A quick tour of the site reveals an expansive project with solar arrays that follow the contour of the land, and leave many of the trees standing.

“You see behind these trees there is a different array,” said hep petra Chief Operating Officer Julian Erfurth. “We kept this area intact, a protected area.”

“If you work right with the landowners, etc., you can fit a site better, you can make it work for the community and for you,” said hep petra Chief Executive Officer Wayne Marshall. “The goal really is for nobody to know that you’re here, other than to say ‘hey that’s a nice looking facility.’”

Appalachian Power purchases the electricity through a long-term wholesale contract - part of what the company says is a growing portfolio of renewable energy.

Larry Jackson is Appalachian Power’s Director of Government Affairs.

“Of course, we’ve been involved with hydro power for over a century,” Jackson told WDBJ7. “More recently, we’ve been involved in some wind projects. And we just got involved in solar here recently, but it’s an increasing trajectory in renewables for us in Virginia as we go towards a zero-carbon future.”

The Depot Solar facility is connected to Appalachian Power’s distribution system, which means the electricity produced here will be used by Appalachian customers in the area.