Pittsylvania County solar farm waiting on panels from China, delayed by Coronavirus

Published: Feb. 25, 2020 at 9:56 PM EST
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The posts are plentiful at the second solar energy farm in Pittsylvania County, but glass panels are not.

"Some of the factories in China have closed temporarily because of the Coronavirus there," said Jason Grey with Danville Utilities.

The panels are made in China, and while three megawatts are headed to the county by boat, seven megawatts are currently on hold.

"It's a virus that wasn't predicted, there's no control over it," said Grey.

The absence of control means there's also an absence of control over the project's completion.

Construction at Whetmell solar farm started in November and it's scheduled to wrap up in June. Right now, neither Jason Grey with Danville Utilities or CS Energy, the company contracted for the work, are concerned about the impending deadline, but if the parts needed don't arrive in time, it may have to be pushed back.

According to the CDC, there needs to be at least 28 days without a reported case of the virus in an area, for that area to be considered outbreak free.

Waiting on that may just be the key to getting the panels made.

Once they are made and are shipped, the finishing touches can be applied. There is still work to be done in the meantime, but the panels are a major step.

"We have to get the horizontal wiring in and then all the wiring that's associated with each row," said Grey.

The goal is for this space is for it to look like the solar farm at Kentuck, the other solar farm in the county, which was finished just shy of two years ago.

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