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Va. regulators sign off on 500-MW solar development

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Va. regulators sign off on 500-MW solar development

The Virginia State Corporation Commission has approved the construction of all four phases of a proposed 500-MW solar plant that will sell a large chunk of its power to Microsoft Corp.

The commission on Aug. 8 issued an order granting certificates of public convenience and necessity for the construction and operation of the solar facility in western Spotsylvania County.

Pleinmont Solar LLC will construct the initial 75-MW phase of the project, which is scheduled to come online on or before June 30, 2019. The final three phases constructed by Pleinmont Solar II LLC, Highlander Solar Energy Station 1 LLC and Richmond Spider Solar LLC are all expected to be online by Dec. 31, 2019.

Each of the special purpose entities involved in the construction and operation of the project is a wholly-owned subsidiary of renewable energy developer sPower. Microsoft in March announced its agreement with sPower to purchase 315 MW of the solar energy produced in the first two phases of the project, calling it the single largest corporate purchase of solar energy in the U.S.

The project, once completed, would be the largest solar farm in Virginia.

SPower is owned by a joint venture co-controlled by AES Corp. and Alberta Investment Management Corp.

(SCC docket PUR-2017-00162)