SUP 20-05 Redfish Solar

Current Status: PC Hearing

PC Hearing

Case Status Descriptions

Case Manager

Sandra Thornton

Summary (Project Description from Narrative)

Redfish Solar Partners, LLC (Redfish Solar or Applicant) is pleased to provide this narrative to
the Orange County Planning Commission (Commission) and Board of Supervisors (Board) in
support of a Special Use Permit (SUP) application for the proposed Redfish Solar Facility
(Project.) The Project is a 6.472 megawatt (MW) direct current (DC)/4.999MW alternating current
(AC) solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery energy storage facility. Redfish Solar is a wholly owned
entity of EDF Renewables. This request is in accordance with Section 70-145 of the Orange
County Zoning Ordinance for the regulation of large and utility scale solar energy facilities, as a
public utility facility.

The Applicant is proposing to develop up to 45 acres (Project Area or Project Boundary) of a 96.6-
acre property (Parcel area or Parcel boundary) currently owned by Michael L. Mayo III, Michael
L. Mayo Jr. and Catherine L. Mayo. The Project is located north of Catharpin Road, east of Dulin
Lane, west of Mayos Lane, and south of Old Plank Road in unincorporated Orange County,
Virginia. The irregularly shaped property is approximately 45 acres in size comprised of two
parcels located within a parent property approximately 96.6 acres in size. The parcel identification
numbers are 05000000000040 and 0500000000004A, and the address of the parcels is 0 Catharpin
Rd, Locust Grove VA 22508. The Project is located in a rural community characterized by
agricultural land use, a topsoil and mulch commercial business, other commercial businesses, and
other surrounding areas are developed with low-density single-family residences, or are forested,
undeveloped land (Figure 1).

At the completion of construction, Redfish Solar will be the operator. The Project will provide
power to local homes and businesses and will have a maximum generation capacity of 4.999 MW
AC. The Project has been designed to meet the electricity needs of the residents of Orange County
living in the immediate vicinity of the Project. The Applicant has worked closely with REC to
locate and size the system in order to maximize the benefits to the anticipated energy needs of the
community. REC’s Paytes substation, which feeds the local electrical distribution system, is
located approximately 1.5 miles southwest of the Project and will provide the infrastructure
necessary to connect the solar facility to the distribution grid. When operational, the Project will
generate about 10,290 megawatt-hours of clean renewable electricity each year, which is
equivalent to 840 homes’ energy use for one year, 1,572 passenger vehicles driven for one year,
and 7,276 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions avoided.

Solar electric generation facilities consist primarily of three main systems: photovoltaic (PV)
modules that convert sunlight into electricity (attached to support structures), an electrical
collection system, and electrical interconnection equipment. In addition, the Project may
incorporate a battery energy storage system (BESS) to store electricity generated by the PV
modules and dispatch energy to the local distribution system when it is most needed. Crystalline
silicon PV modules are typically approximately 6 feet (ft) by 3 ft, include anti-reflective coating,
and are attached to a racking system mounted on embedded (pounded) steel posts. Support posts
typically extend approximately 4 to 7 ft above grade. PV modules attached to the racking systems
typically extend approximately 10 to 12 ft above grade, with a maximum height of up to 15 ft. The
racking on which the PV modules sit will either be fixed tilt or single-axis tracker, and the Project
will consist of a mix of approximately 15,204 crystalline silicon modules. The PV modules will
be arranged in rows with center-to-center row spacing of approximately 12 to 16 ft. The rows of
PV modules will be organized into electrical groups referred to as “arrays.” The arrays will be
connected to inverters that convert the DC power from the solar modules to AC power, which is
utilized on the power grid. The Project may include up to two equipment pads including a
transformer and an inverter, each anticipated to have a footprint of approximately 10 ft by 35 ft. If
a BESS is included in the Project, the equipment will be UL 9540 approved and include up to two
containers approximately 12 ft (height) by 44 ft by 10 ft in size as well as an additional inverter
with a footprint of approximately 4 ft (height) by 12 ft by 9 ft. The banks of lithium ion batteries
will be housed inside the containers and all ancillary equipment associated with the BESS will be
located within the proposed Project Area. The containers are not walk-in structures, but rather
serviced from exterior doors.

The height of equipment will not exceed 15 ft, with the exception of one anemometer pole required
to monitor weather on-site. Based on noise studies conducted at other solar facilities and the
specifications of representative inverters that will be used in the Project, noise levels of <39 to 42
dBA, less than that of a household refrigerator, are anticipated at the property line. At operation,
the Project will not produce noise, vibration, dust, debris, glare, or traffic and will not present a
safety or use hazard to the surrounding properties.

There are currently no buildings within the Project Area, and none are proposed. The structures
for the Project include steel support posts, racking, solar PV modules, equipment pads for a
transformer and/or inverter, containers housing the battery energy storage system (BESS),
electrical interconnection equipment, and fencing around the Project. Solar electricity generation
equipment will not be located outside of the Project Area shown on the attached figures, with the
exception of perimeter security fencing, a gravel driveway, and electrical interconnection
equipment. For illustration purposes, a preliminary conceptual layout of the solar array modules
and the ancillary equipment is presented on the attached site plan in Section 7.0.

The Project will include the installation of an at least 7-foot-tall fixed knot perimeter fence, which
is commonly used for agriculture and farming purposes, and will assist the Project in keeping with
the character of the surrounding community. Access is anticipated to be off of Catharpin Road, to
the southwest of the Project Area. No parking spaces are proposed nor required onsite. The Project
does not anticipate utilizing lighting. No signs, other than warning signs on electrical equipment
and at the facility entrance are proposed.

Views of the Project will be mitigated by the relatively small footprint of the Project as compared
to the overall property size (no more than 45 acres of the 96 acre property), the orientation of the
Project within the surrounding existing vegetation, the maximum equipment height of 15-ft,
supplemental vegetative screening where gaps in existing vegetation exist along Catharpin Road,
and Project setbacks from property lines.

Minimal site grading and clearing activities are anticipated due to the open existing site conditions
and the ability of the module racking structures to conform with the existing topography. Trees at
the perimeter of the Project Area will be maintained to the extent practicable to provide visual
screening from nearby properties and public rights-of-way.

The site clearing activities within the Project Area will involve removal of select trees necessary
for solar array installation and the prevention of shading of the modules. Trees outside the Project
fence will be cut but not stumped. Areas disturbed by grading will be seeded with ground cover
designed to quickly stabilize soils. The Applicant will observe buffers of 100 ft and 50 ft for onsite
wetlands and intermittent streams, respectively, and there will be no tree clearing within these
buffers. The Project will be unmanned at operation and is designed to be operated remotely with
only occasional visits to the site for maintenance activities. These visits are anticipated to occur on
a less than weekly basis. Operation of the facility will be monitored online 24 hours/day and
emergency and normal shutdown procedures can be implemented remotely.

Construction activities for the Project will consist of the following:

  • Best management practices (BMPs) implementation for erosion and sediment control and
    site clearing.
  • Site preparation, including limited grading as needed, tree clearing, and fencing and access
    roadway installation.
  • Foundation and solar module support racking installation.
  • PV module and inverter skid installation.
  • Electrical collection system installation.
  • BESS installation, if utilized.
  • Testing and commissioning.

Site design, preparation and construction will be conducted in accordance with local requirements
and regulations for erosion and sediment control and land disturbance and state requirements
pertaining to stormwater runoff and stormwater controls. Thus, the Project is not anticipated to
adversely impact the surrounding area. Special Use Permit Application—Redfish Solar Partners, LLC

Contact Us

For questions regarding SUP 20-05, please email Planning Services.

Location

Disclaimer: The map shows the general location of the case. Information is updated weekly on Friday. For additional information, email Planning Services or call (540) 672-4347.