The primary of 5 deliberate photo voltaic farms in West Virginia simply got here on-line. This is why that is vital to the state.
1 in 5 new photo voltaic farms in West Virginia
FirstEnergy subsidiaries Mon Energy and Potomac Edison have launched a photo voltaic farm on 80 acres on the Fort Martin Energy Station in Maidsville, West Virginia, north of Morgantown.
The 18.9 megawatt (MW) photo voltaic park with 50,000 panels is the primary of the businesses’ 5 photo voltaic parks that collectively will generate as much as 50 MW of unpolluted vitality.
In August, the West Virginia Public Service Fee (PSC) accepted the utilities’ request to construct Fort Martin and two different photo voltaic farms in Rivesville, Marion County (5.5 MW) and Marlowe, Berkeley County (5.7 MW). Building of all three buildings is predicted to be accomplished by the top of 2024.
Mon Energy and Potomac Edison mentioned they plan to hunt last approval from the PSC later this yr to construct the fourth and fifth photo voltaic farms in Davis, Tucker County (11.5 MW) and Weirton, Hancock County (8, 4 MW), as soon as prospects subscribe to the clear vitality they’ll produce. Building of the final two places is predicted to be accomplished by the top of 2025.
To state the apparent, West Virginia has traditionally been — and nonetheless is — a coal-producing state, and it’s coal that also powers the overwhelming majority of electrical energy.
Coal has additionally traditionally been a serious employer in West Virginia, however mining employment has almost halved in simply over a decade. The American transition to renewable vitality sources subsequently represents a change that many within the state’s imaginative and prescient view with nice trepidation.
That is why FirstEnergy is cautious to level out on this announcement that the Fort Martin web site was constructed by 100 native union employees and that the panels, racking methods and electrical gear are all American made.
Based on the Photo voltaic Power Industries Affiliation, as of the third quarter of 2023, solely 35 MW of solar energy had been put in in West Virginia. So it is no shock that it ranks forty ninth within the US for the quantity of photo voltaic vitality put in. The nation will get a paltry 0.08% of its electrical energy from photo voltaic vitality.
Once more, these 5 photo voltaic farms will convey 50 MW of photo voltaic vitality to the desk – and that is a part of a 517 MW progress projection over the following 5 years, which can bump West Virginia to forty fifth.
That also means the state is a photo voltaic laggard, however for West Virginia, which at present has no alternative however to embrace change, it is a begin.
Photograph: FirstEnergy Corp
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