July 26, 2021

Plans for solar plants in Berkeley County hold the solar energy-momentum of WV running

For West Virginia, one year after the state lawmakers’ enacted laws to promote renewable energy production, another solar power increase is scheduled. The Berkeley County Council reported that a green energy development corporation plans to build a $100 million solar power production plant at the old explosives manufacturing facility of Dupont Potomac River Works. It would be among the first utility-scale solar plants in the Mountain State, together with a solar farm proposed for Raleigh County.

As per a Payment in Lieu of Taxes deal between Bedington Energy Facility and Berkeley County Council, Bedington Energy Facility, LLC, which is a Delaware affiliate of Torch Clean Energy, intends to spend $100 million to construct a 100-megawatt solar center on land (750 acres) at a property that was identified as a brownfield “unfit for many of these industrial and commercial uses.” The PILOT deal exempts the corporation from paying personal property tax for a term of 15 years. The firm takes control of machinery equipment from Berkeley County Development Authority on the land.

The corporation is due to pay $1,850 for every megawatt of the production capacity in place of royalties, with an annual base payment of $100,000. For “quality of life” reasons, like parks as well as public spaces, public protection and health properties, cultural and historical projects, the corporation promised to pay Berkeley County $450,000. At no expense to Berkeley County Board of Education, the corporation has decided to install, within a period of two years of operation of the plant, a minimum of one solar photovoltaic array at one or even more public schools amounting to a minimum of 100 kilowatts.

At its meeting, a Torch Clean Energy project leader told the Berkeley County Council that the school system’s annual energy expense savings would total to between $15,000 and $20,000. It is also needed for the Bedington Energy Facility to pay taxes for the property. The corporation projected that the project would raise taxes over $20 million as well as creates a clean energy system capable of attracting large technology firms. As per the county, the venture is expected to generate 150 to 200 building jobs during development.

Jon Kilberg, who serves at the Torch Clean Energy as the President, stated in a Berkeley County press release, “The venture will be a guiding light for leading businesses looking to buy clean energy and expand operations in the Berkeley County as well as West Virginia. The project is expected to nearly tenfold increase the generation of solar energy from West Virginia.