Hecate Energy makes progress towards 150MW solar project in Virginia

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The Cherrydale solar project.
The Cherrydale solar project is one of Hecate’s two operating projects in Virginia. Image: Hecate Energy

The Cumberland County Board of Supervisors has granted permission to US renewables developer Hecate Energy to build a proposed 150MW solar PV facility in the US state of Virginia.

The board voted in favour of the project on 12 March, and announced its decision earlier this week, granting approval to Hecate’s siting agreement and conditional use permit applications for the project. The so-called Cumberland Solar Facility is a US$200 million investment, and while the project still needs approval from Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality, Hecate noted that it expects to receive support from the state body.

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The project will cover nearly 1,000 acres in central Virginia, and Hecate plans to begin construction in 2028, ahead of commissioning the project in 2030.

“This approval helps realise our common goal to bring substantial economic benefits to Cumberland County and build energy independence for Virginia,” said Preston Schultz, the Cumberland Solar Facility’s lead project developer. “We appreciate the leadership and support demonstrated by the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors in advancing this project.”

Hecate boasts a considerable pipeline of projects, with 151 facilities in operation or under development, with a total power generation capacity of 38.9GW. The company’s works are split between solar, wind and storage projects, with 1.4GW of solar capacity under development across nine projects, and two operating solar projects with a combined capacity of 30MW.

The company is also developing the Grottoes solar-plus-storage project in Augusta County, with a solar generation capacity of 150MW.

Virginia has one of the largest solar sectors in the US, with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reporting that, at the end of 2023, the state had 4.8GW of solar capacity installed, with another 6.8GW set to come online in the next five years, the ninth-most in the country.

Dominion Energy has been responsible for many of these developments, seeking approval for 772MW of new solar capacity in the state last October. Earlier this month, the utility launched a request for proposal for new solar and storage projects, as it looks to expand its portfolio further.

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