Surry supervisors set June 2 public hearing on Spring Grove solar farm

Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Surry County supervisors will hold a June 2 public hearing on a proposed 150-megawatt solar farm in Surry County’s Spring Grove community.

Charlottesville-based Hexagon Energy submitted plans to the county in 2020, and has revised its application four times over the past 18 months. The “Loblolly Solar” facility, as it’s been named, would be sited on 900 acres of timberland at the intersection of Routes 10 and 40.

Surry’s Planning Commission has twice recommended against the project, each time citing a provision in the county’s comprehensive plan that states solar farms are to be “sited as close to electric transmission lines as possible.” Hexagon’s plans call for just under two miles of utility easements to connect the solar farm to the existing power grid.

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The Board of Supervisors has the final say on whether the project is approved.

Following the Planning Commission’s January vote, Hexagon amended its application to include two additional parcels — sending the matter back to the Planning Commission for reconsideration in March. Hoping to entice more support for the project a second time around, the company also offered $60,000 per year toward a pilot program that would provide electric bill rebates to anyone living adjacent to the proposed solar farm.

Hexagon has requested four approvals for the project: a comprehensive plan amendment, a rezoning, a conditional use permit and a resolution declaring the proposal “substantially in accord” with the amended comprehensive plan.