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Va. announces state's largest solar farm to date

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the state will host its largest solar power installation to date, the Amazon Solar Farm US East 6 project. Community Energy Solar LLC will develop the 100-MW utility scale solar farm to be built in Southampton County, Va., according to an announcement from McAuliffe's office Jan. 25.

In November 2016, Dominion Resources Inc. subsidiary Dominion Energy Inc. and Amazon Web Services Inc. announced that they would partner to bring online five more solar projects in Virginia, totaling 180 MW of capacity.

The Inc. unit said that it plans to add four 20-MW facilities to the grid before the end of 2017, along with the 100-MW solar farm in Southampton County. Amazon Solar Farm US East 2, Amazon Solar Farm US East 3, Amazon Solar Farm US East 4 and Amazon Solar Farm US East 5, each with a capacity of 20 MW, will be located in New Kent, Buckingham, Sussex and Powhatan counties, respectively.

The 80-MW Amazon Solar Farm US East (Eastern Shore) in Accomack County, Va., currently the state's largest solar installment, was completed in October 2016. Dominion Energy acquired the solar plant in November 2015.

Once the Southampton solar farm is built, it will help the state avoid the release of 134,377 tons of carbon dioxide, 631 tons of sulfur dioxide, 315 tons of nitrogen oxides and 12 tons of particulate matter a year, according to the governor's office.

Amazon Web Services agreed to purchase power from the project as part of the company's global strategy to meet carbon neutrality goals.

"The pace of solar deployment has increased exponentially in recent years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future," Gov. McAuliffe said in a statement. "With projects like this, we're building both the new Virginia economy and a better future for our children."