Utility Appalachian Power seeking 294MW of PV in short-term decarbonisation plan

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A 75MW solar farm developed by sPower in Virgina. Image: SPower/Nextracker.

US utility Appalachian Power has unveiled plans to acquire or contract for nearly 300MW of solar PV over the next three years as it transitions towards net zero status by 2050.

The procurement plan, filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission last week, details how the Virginia-based utility is to meet its short-, medium- and long-term decarbonisations targets, as set within the Virginia Clean Economy Act.

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The act, passed in 2020 by Virginia’s general assembly, dictates that utilities transition towards a net zero status by 2050 and requires them to file annual plans with the commission, determining how those plans are to be met.

Appalachian Power confirmed in its most recent submission that just under 500MW of renewables projects will either be acquired or contracted for by 2025, made up of 294MW of solar PV and an additional 204MW of wind.

Its solar plans include the purchase of a 150MW project based in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, which today was revealed to be the Firefly PV project brought forward by Canadian Solar’s project development arm Recurrent Energy. Construction on the installation is slated to start next year before commencing commercial operations in 2024.

Appalachian is also seeking regulatory approval to procure the output of three further solar farms, with a combined generation capacity of 89MW, in Virginia.

By 2040, the utility expects to have added some 3.3GW of solar PV and 2.6GW of energy storage projects to its portfolio.

Chris Beam, president and COO at Appalachian Power, described the new plan as the company’s “most extensive filing yet”.

“The update filed with state regulators reflects the in-depth analysis necessary to ensure sufficient resources are in place to provide affordable and reliable power for our customers while continuing to build our renewables portfolio and meet our VCEA requirements.”

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