Midway Solar Center
The Midway Solar Project is an 8MW AC solar energy facility paired with a 4MW AC battery storage system located in the Albemarle County, 1.3 miles south/southwest of Batesville, Virginia.
The project site consists of a mix of planted timber pine forest and open agricultural field. Approximately 80 acres (of a 136-acre parcel) will be required to construct the facility. The area under the solar panels will consist mostly of planted vegetation, allowing rainwater to pass around and under panels much as it would in its current, natural condition.
The project will interconnect to the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative power grid via existing 34.5kV overhead lines at a point on the southern portion of the site. No offsite construction of transmission or distribution infrastructure is expected to be required.
Solar facilities are temporary. When the Midway Solar Center reaches the end of its use, all of its components will be removed and recycled and the land returned to its pre-solar condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the project expected to be constructed?
Project construction is expected to begin early in 2022 and will take approximately 4-6 months in total.
Will the project be visible to the neighboring community?
Sun Tribe Development is committed to preserving the rural character of the communities in which we work. With that in mind, the Midway Solar Center was designed carefully to ensure it would not be visible from surrounding properties or roadways. We’ll accomplish this by strictly adhering to all locally established setback requirements, maintaining a vegetative buffering at the site, and planting supplemental vegetation to shield the project from visibility where needed. The below image is a rendering of the proposed buffering surrounding the project.
Simulation shows vegetation at maturity (within 8 years)
Will the project produce noise during operation?
Any solar system has a few noise-producing components (such as inverters and tracker motors) that should be impossible to hear from adjacent properties. To give just one example, solar inverters have a noise rating of 65 decibels at one meter away – about the level of noise you’d hear from an air conditioner, washing machine, or dishwasher. Any noise produced by Midway Solar Center should be inaudible from approximately 100 feet away.
How is the land prepared for construction?
As an environmentally-focused company, Sun Tribe’s goal is to create minimal impact to the land around the project site. To this end, only about 32 acres of row planted timber pines will be removed from the project site. Existing vegetation surrounding the project site will be preserved following county and state regulations of environmental stewardship. Additionally, all views of the solar project will be blocked by vegetative buffering to preserve visual appeal of the surrounding lands as mentioned above.
How will construction vehicles access the project site?
Access to the project site will occur by a single gravel access road off Craigs Store Road, in Albemarle County. Construction vehicles will enter the project site from the west along Craigs Store Road. Construction and material delivery vehicles will not access the project site through the town of Batesville or from Batesville Road. Ongoing coordination with VDOT and the County of Albemarle will ensure impacts of construction traffic will be minimized. While traffic to the project site will vary based on the phase of construction, during the height of construction it is estimated there will be approximately four truck trips to the project site per day.
Will the project increase traffic in the area?
No. A short-term increase in traffic to the project site will be observed during project construction. Once operational, though, traffic to the site will be minimal, with passenger vehicles or small work trucks visiting only 1-2 times per month for general observation, operations and maintenance.
Will the project produce light?
Solar systems operate primarily during the day with minimal nighttime activity and lighting required. And, as a solar company focused on environmental sustainability, Sun Tribe strives to create energy efficiency in all aspects of our projects. At Midway Solar Center, there will be minimal lighting primarily focused on the entrance of the center, with the goal of fulfilling site safety and security requirements. All lighting will be designed to prevent spillover and will be arranged or shielded to reduce impact on any adjoining residences and roads.
Will the project provide power to my house?
As in most public power producing situations, the electricity produced at the Midway Solar Center will be fed into the larger grid system. For this specific project, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) owns the local electric grid and manages its distribution to neighboring communities. Electricity produced at Midway Solar Center will be utilized directly by CVEC to service their local customers including residential, commercial, and industrial users in Central Virginia.
Will the project impact my property values?
Sun Tribe conducted a real estate impact analysis for the project. This study shows that solar generating facilities have no impact, positive or negative, on the value of neighboring properties. Using matched-pair analysis, we found that the Midway Solar Center will have no impact on home values on abutting or adjoining properties and no impact on adjacent vacant residential or agricultural land.
How will the project affect my electric rates?
As a member-owned, not-for-profit electric utility, CVEC’s goal is to provide dependable low-cost electric service throughout its 14-county Central Virginia area. The Company subscribes to an energy portfolio strategy that balances energy purchases from a diversity of sources including gas-fired plants, solar, wind and hydro generators, and market purchases with the goal of stabilizing power costs that impact electricity rates.
CVEC’s investment in the Midway Solar Center is a key element of this strategy. Solar energy purchased from a local CVEC grid-connected solar center is the most cost effective solar electricity we can procure. By sourcing the energy locally, it is economically competitive with traditional power, aligns with CVEC’s goal to increase renewable resources, and helps comply with the Virginia Clean Economy Act.
As such, CVEC does not anticipate that this solar project and others will adversely impact rates. Rather, it will bolster the Company’s strategy to stabilize long-term power costs so that CVEC can continue to provide safe, affordable, and reliable power to its members.
What will happen after the project’s operating life has ended?
One of the benefits of solar is that it allows landowners to conserve and preserve their land for future generations. Sun Tribe is dedicated to making that future a reality for the Midway Solar Center by restoring the land to as close to its original condition as possible once the project has reached the end of its operating life, an expected lifespan of 25 years.
That’s why Sun Tribe Development prepares decommissioning plans for all its projects, including the Midway Solar Center, which lay out our vision and process to restore the land. That plan includes, keeping existing vegetative buffering in place, covering any disturbed areas with topsoil and reestablishing any additional ground vegetation. It’s guaranteed that all project materials will be removed from the site and when possible, will be recycled, salvaged, or reused.