- Amazon Web Services has secured the last required permit for construction to begin on its 900-acre, 80-megawatt solar farm in Accomack County, VA . When completed, it will be the largest solar farm in the mid-Atlantic region.
- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Monday that the state Department of Environmental Quality issued the permit for the solar farm, which will eventually be home to 250,000 solar panels that can create enough electricity to power 15,000 local homes.
- Construction on the facility is set to begin later this year, and it is scheduled to open for commercial use in the fall of 2016.
Through a power purchase agreement, Community Energy will build the solar farm, and the solar panels will power the data centers used for the company’s Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform.
Virginia has often been criticized as slow to move into the renewable energy space, according to pv magazine. The Solar Energy Industries Association ranks Virginia as 31st in the U.S. for its solar PV capacity.
McAuliffe touted the project as a both a job creator and a step forward for Virginia in the renewable energy direction. "We are now in the game," he said. "We weren't in the past even suited up. I think we're sending the signal that Virginia is open and welcoming to renewables and this is a good place to do business."
The recent attention on renewable energy, especially with President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, could be a boon for industrial construction, as the additional investment in natural gas, wind farms and solar energy is expected to create more demand for construction of new facilities.