HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — After a recent vote ended in the approval of a new 22-acre solar farm, long-time Hanover County residents are getting ready for the change.
Ameresco Solar has led solar projects across the country in states like Texas, Maryland, Louisiana, California and Arizona. Now, Hanover is the next site on their list. The 5-Megawatt facility on Peppertown Road is estimated to have the ability to power 1,500 homes.
The project is expected to have a lifespan of 40 years. As an additional agreement, developers plan to pay the county $420,000 throughout this lifespan.
Long-time members of the community have had a hard time adjusting to the change.
“I’m from the country, so I like to see things stay as is. But if it’s for good reasons. If it’s beneficial, then I would probably approve that,” said resident Sherry Pardon.
Others say that after weighing their options, this isn’t the worst idea that could be coming to their neighborhood.
“Most of the people I spoke with here in the town, the two roads that make up Peppertown farms, seem to think they’d rather see this solar farm rather than a subdivision. So, less traffic, not as congested,” said community member Jerry Jarvis.
Because some homes aren’t the right fit for solar panel installation due to roof structure and size, solar farm facilities act as an alternative way to provide clean energy to more people, unlike fossil fuels and coal.
After the lifespan of the facility is up, Ameresco Solar will be responsible for restoring the site to its original state.
Most recently, cattle have lived on the land, and some neighbors are concerned the new project will be a disadvantage to farmers, cattle and crops.
To remain environmentally friendly, developers promised residents that any vegetation planted in between the solar panels would be pollinator friendly.
“We pride ourselves in our commitment to the environment and sustainable practices, particularly in the pollinator species realm,” a company representative said in previous 8News reporting.
Ameresco agreed to pay $140,250 upfront for the deal, as well as an annual payment of $1,400 per megawatt for every year the project operates.
According to the permit, the funds will be earmarked to support public safety and road infrastructure improvements.
This article was written with reporting by 8News Digital Reporter, Jakob Cordes.