Ribbon cutting

Danville city officials and speakers cut the ribbon for the Kentuck Solar Farm in celebration of the project’s success at its location in Ringgold. Pictured from left to right are Danville Utilities Director Jason Grey, Danville City Councilman Gary Miller, McCarthy Building Companies Vice President of Operations Michael Corso, Danville City Councilman Fred Shanks, WGL Energy Director Chris Mathey, Danville City Councilman Lee Vogler, Turning Point Energy President Jared Schoch, Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Dan River District Representative Joe Davis, Danville Vice Mayor Alonzo Jones, Danville Mayor John Gilstrap, Danville City Councilman Sherman Saunders, Sol Systems Senior Project Manager Austin Ditz, and Danville City Manager Ken Larking.

Kentuck Solar Farm stakeholders, led by WGL Energy Systems (WGL Energy) and Sol Systems joined to celebrate the completion of a six-megawatt alternating current system on Wednesday, May 23. The solar farm is located on 76 acres at 2048 Kentuck Church Road in Ringgold.

The program was launched in May of last year when Danville hosted former Governor Terry McAuliffe at a roundtable discussion on his Clean Energy Jobs tour. The project created approximately 80 jobs during construction, boosted the local economy and provided long term, integrated resource planning for Danville.

“The location of this facility is important,” Danville Mayor John Gilstrap said. “By being located in our service are here in the Kentuck community of Pittsylvania County, this power will be unaffected by high transmission and congestion charges that greatly increase our cost of delivering electricity to our customers.”

The Kentuck Solar Project will provide enough carbon-free electricity to power 1,200 homes every year, supply 1.5. percent of the city’s power needs and establish long-term cost certainty for the utility.

“This is more clean energy for our clean energy portfolio,” Gilstrap said. “When we combine this project with hydroelectric facilities that we own or in which we have invested, about 20 percent of the city’s power is supplied by renewable resources.”

City and county officials gathered at Kentuck Baptist Church and heard from Gilstrap, as well as Sol Systems Senior Project Manager Austin Ditz, Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Dan River District Representative Joe Davis, WGL Energy Director Chris Mathey, McCarthy Building Companies Vice President of Operations Michael Corso and Turning Point Energy President Jared Schoch.

“Today we mark in the history of Pittsylvania County, a unique step towards a new future of sustainable energy,” Davis said. “We no longer have to carry a carbon footprint. Solar energy is a far more efficient resource.”

After the speaker gave their remarks, everyone was transported by bus down to the location of the solar farm, where the speakers held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the solar farm’s completion, and its one-year mark in Ringgold.

“We are not dusting off our feet to embrace a modern solution for our environment,” Davis said. “Clean water, clean air, and the emission of toxic elements eliminated with renewable energy from the waves of the sun’s strength.”

WGL Energy serves as owner and operator of the project and Sol Systems has overseen the design, construction and financing of the system. The City of Danville Department of Utilities is purchasing the energy from the fully installed photovoltaic solar facility for the next 25 years to diversify to its energy and capacity portfolio.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of this unique project,” Mathey said. “We really believe that solar energy is the future. We’re proud to serving as the owner and operator of this system.”

The site location stretches between Dan River Middle School, Kentuck Elementary and Dan River High School. It connects to several sections of private property. The system has nearly 24,000 crystalline modules and a recently planted vegetative buffer around the fence to preserve aesthetics.

“I want to thank Pittsylvania County Schools for all the work that they did in supporting this project,” Ditz said. “Having something in their back yard will provide them with an opportunity to learn from the project long term.”

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