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Another solar farm on the horizon for Pulaski County

A Chicago-based company is aiming to build a 2,700-acre solar farm on various pieces of property throughout the county.

Hecate Energy is requesting a special-use permit from the county to lease several pieces of land zoned for agriculture to build a solar farm that will generate up to 280 megawatts of renewable energy, according to its application with the county.

The company already has interest from approximately 20 entities, both from individual farmers and their families and from partnerships that own land, according to Hecate spokesman Jay Poole.

Poole wrote that the life of the project is expected to be approximately 35 years. It will use the same kind of panels already in use in the New River Valley in places like Carilion New River Valley Medical Center, Volvo, office buildings in the town of Pulaski and on the rooftops of other businesses and homes.

“The solar panels … used in this project are standard crystalline silicon panels. Silicon, plastic and steel are the predominant materials in the solar panels and the predominant material in silicon is sand,” he wrote. “These solar panels are very much like a windshield. There are layers of silicon and plastic which are encapsulated by glass to prevent shattering. … The newest generation of panels that will be used in the facility are manufactured to dramatically reduced the amount of glare created by the solar panels.”

The panels would be replaced as needed throughout the duration of the project and recycled once the farm is no longer in use, according to Poole.

The power generated would be sold to companies like Appalachian Power Co. to help meet state regulations that dictate that a certain amount of the utility’s power comes from renewable sources, Poole wrote.

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