West Virginia utilities plan to build 50 MW of solar thanks to new state policy

Mon Power and Potomac Edison, subsidiaries of FirstEnergy, have filed with the West Virginia Public Service Commission for approval to build five large-scale solar projects in the West Virginia service area. Together, the facilities would generate 50 megawatts of clean, renewable energy to make West Virginia more attractive for business development.

The application supports a bill 2020 passed by the West Virginia Legislature authorizing electric utilities to own and operate up to 200 megawatts of renewable generation facilities to meet the state’s electricity needs. The addition of new renewable generation is also boosting economic development in West Virginia, as a growing number of businesses require some of the electricity they buy to be generated from renewable sources.

“Many of our customers have shown great interest in solar in recent years and we are excited about the opportunity to meet the growing demand for renewable energy in our service area while supporting West Virginia’s economic development goals,” said Jim. Myers, president of FirstEnergy’s West Virginia operations.

If approved, Mon Power would build, own and operate the five solar plants, and the energy produced would be available for purchase by customers of Mon Power and Potomac Edison in West Virginia. Customers who participate in the program will receive the equivalent of one Solar Renewable Energy (SREC) credit for every megawatt hour of energy purchased. To help ensure the development of clean, renewable energy in the state, the cost of solar power generation would be paid by West Virginia customers of Mon Power and Potomac Edison through a nominal solar charge until all energy credits are purchased by participants in the program.

Once approved, sourcing, pioneering and licensing would begin as early as 2022 on the first phase of solar installations, with all five expected to be completed before the end of 2025.

Four of the five proposed sites are on property of Mon Power or its subsidiaries, and the fifth site is under review. The locations include:

  • A 26-acre recovered ash dump in Berkeley County
  • A 51-acre site adjacent to a Mon Power substation in Hancock County
  • A 95-acre site in Monongalia County
  • A 44-acre reclaimed strip mine in Tucker County

“We believe this is an exciting new use for several underutilized properties that will diversify our energy resources with clean, renewable options and help us continue to provide safe, reliable power to our customers in West Virginia,” said Myers.

News item from FirstEnergy

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