Dominion Energy has acquired an 80MW solar facility in Virginia from project developer Community Energy, Inc. Electricity generated from the facility will be used to power Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the state through a power purchase agreement. Construction on one of the largest announced solar facilities in the mid-Atlantic region is expected to begin later in 2015. The facility would enter service in fall 2016.
The Amazon Solar Farm U.S. East is located in Accomack County near Oak Hall, Va., on Virginia's Eastern Shore. The facility's construction was enabled through a long-term power purchase agreement with an affiliate of Amazon's AWS cloud computing business. Interconnection agreements have also been secured with Delmarva Power. An engineering, procurement and construction contract has been signed.
AWS has publicly shared its long-term goal to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure, with a milestone goal of achieving 40% renewable energy usage by the end of 2016. The power from Amazon Solar Farm U.S. East will enable AWS to increase renewable energy on the electrical grid that supplies both current and future AWS data centers.
"This ground-breaking solar project in Virginia shows what can happen when you bring together a national energy leader like Dominion and a global web services provider like Amazon Web Services with forward-looking leaders in Accomack County and the Commonwealth of Virginia," said Brent Alderfer, president of Community Energy, Inc., developer of the project. "This is a model for a new solar industry in the region and nationally."
This is the first project that has been approved under Virginia's permit-by-rule process for renewable energy projects with nameplate generating capacities of less than 100MW. The statute streamlines the permitting process, allowing the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to issue bulk permits to construct and operate qualifying renewable energy projects. The project is expected to qualify for the federal Investment Tax Credit, additionally.