The project requires a conditional use permit from Franklin County. The planning commission is expected to get the case in June or July, and will make a recommendation to the board of supervisors.
Assuming that local approval is granted, the solar farm would then need to obtain a permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Construction could begin in 2022, according to Yarden Golan, a spokesman for Energix.
Energix, an Arlington subsidiary of Energix-Renewable Energies of Israel, has three projects in operation in Virginia, six under construction and more in the development phase, Golan said.
The company’s involvement in Virginia began in 2017, well before policies and laws like the Virginia Clean Economy Act encouraged the greater use of renewable energy such as solar and wind.
“The VCEA further highlights that we made the right decision, and that Virginia is going to be a leader in developing its renewable energy resources,” Golan wrote in an email.
When completed, the solar farm would generate 20 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power about 2,400 homes. Although it’s too early to say who would purchase the electricity, Energix typically sells its power to a local utility, Golan said. An Appalachian Power Co. line bisects the proposed site.
Earlier this year, Appalachian announced that it was taking bids for solar projects. More requests for proposals are expected in the coming years, as the Clean Economy Act requires the utility to provide totally carbon-fee electricity to its Virginia customers by 2050.