Ribbon-cutting ceremony marks official completion of Pittsylvania County solar farm

Solar farm is largest municipal-utility solar farm in Virginia

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – Three years of hard work culminated Wednesday morning in just three seconds.

More than a dozen dignitaries lined up just inside the perimeter fence of the six-megawatt Kentuck Solar Farm, counted to three and cut a ceremonial ribbon.

It is the largest municipal-utility solar farm in Virginia.

"This is a very stable source of supply, so we're very proud of this," Danville Utilities Director Jason Grey said.

WGL Energy will own and operate the system and for the next 25 years Danville Utilities will purchase all of the power generated.

The system is expected to produce enough power to serve about 1,200 homes.

Grey said the $72 per megawatt Danville Utilities will pay for the power will save the company millions of dollars.

How much of that will be passed on to the customers is unclear.

"We're taking increased costs we're seeing on the market and hedging that with a locally-generated resource that is at a lower cost than what we're forecasting (the) market to be," Grey said.

WGL Energy's director of system sales, Chris Mathey, said this project will also save the environment. 

"It's also equivalent to taking about 1,700-1,800 cars off the road each year for the next 25 years," Mathey said.

During a speech prior to the ribbon-cutting, Danville Mayor John Gilstrap called the completion of the solar farm a milestone moment.

"We will combine this project with hydroelectric facilities that we own or in which we have invested. About 20 percent of the city's power is supplied by renewable resources," Gilstrap said.

Grey said Danville Utilities is always investigating the possibility of using renewable energy to provide power to customers.

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