New solar farm slated for $12.1 million land purchase

Published 4:51 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with confirmation from AES that the purchased land is intended for another solar farm, and comments by Isle of Wight Community Development Director Amy Ring.

A company linked to the 240-megawatt, 1,750-acre Cavalier Solar farm spanning the Isle of Wight-Surry county line has purchased additional land on Isle of Wight’s side of the border for another solar facility.

But Isle of Wight County officials say they know nothing about the project.

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Land records for December show the sale of roughly 1,700 acres bordering Green Level Road, Mill Swamp Road, Sycamore Cross Drive and Ramsey Road for a collective $12.1 million. 

The parcels sold in December are each deeded to Blue Sky Endeavors LLC, which formed in 2021 and maintains its principal office in Salt Lake City, Utah. Surry County tax records list the same address and suite number for New Sustainable Property Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Cavalier developer AES Corp., which purchased roughly 500 acres in 2021 for Surry’s portion of the project. When Isle of Wight County supervisors approved the Cavalier project in 2021, around 360 acres of the solar farm were to be on Isle of Wight’s side.

Greg Creswell, senior development manager for AES, confirmed to The Smithfield Times via email last week that Blue Sky is another subsidiary of AES and that AES is “considering the development of a new solar project” on the purchased land.

Isle of Wight land records list three sellers for the 1,700 acres sold in December: Dawn to Dusk LLC, Time to Harvest LLC and the estate of Mildred C. Ramsey, who died in 2021. The other two LLCs are companies created by Smithfield attorney William Riddick III – Dawn to Dusk in 2009 and Time to Harvest in 2011. Riddick remains listed as the registered agent for both companies, each of which lists a Green Level Road, Ivor, address as its principal office.

Riddick told The Smithfield Times via email on Jan. 25 that he had not represented the buyer or seller in the December transactions, and was not privy to any plans for the land.

During a December meeting of Isle of Wight’s Planning Commission, Community Development Director Amy Ring stated she was aware of additional solar farms looking to site in Isle of Wight County that had not filed a formal application. Ring, however, told the Times via email that she didn’t recall any of the pending applications listing Blue Sky Endeavors nor AES.

“This is new to me,” Ring said.

The $12.1 million purchase comes as Isle of Wight’s Planning Commission is considering an ordinance that would limit utility-scale solar farms to 2% of the county’s “prime farm soils,” or a cumulative 2,446 acres.