Dominion acquiring 20-MW solar project to serve U.S. Navy’s Norfolk base

Morgans Corner Solar Energy LLC and Dominion North Carolina Power applied Sept. 14 at the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a transfer of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for an in-construction, 20-MW (ac) solar project from Morgans Corner to Dominion.

The companies asked by an expedited approval by Dec. 3, so that this fixed-tilt solar photovoltaic generation facility can achieve commercial operations under Dominion North Carolina Power’s ownership by year-end, but no later than April 1, 2016, which is needed in order to take advantage of state energy tax credits.

This facility is located in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. DNCP intends to sell the electric energy output of the facility to a dedicated non-jurisdictional customer in Virginia, the U.S. Department of the Navy, for use at the Norfolk Naval Base. That base is just across the state line from the northeast corner of North Carolina. 

The managing member of Morgans Corner is Invenergy Solar Development LLC, a subsidiary of Invenergy Clean Power LLC, which is in turn an affiliate of Invenergy LLC, the nation’s largest independent wind power generation company. As part of its renewable generation portfolio, Invenergy and its affiliates and subsidiaries develop, own, and operate solar photovoltaic (PV) projects – including facilities in Illinois, Georgia, California, and Ontario, Canada.

Virginia Electric and Power, doing business in North Carolina as Dominion North Carolina Power and in Virginia as Dominion Virginia Power, is a unit of Dominion Resources (NYSE: D). 

In October 2014, Morgans Corner filed an Application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for this project, located near U.S. Highway 158 in Pasquotank County, North Carolina, within DNCP’s North Carolina service territory. The facility will be located on seven tracts of land totaling 221 acres in the community of Morgans Corner.

The facility will consist of eighty-one thousand and fifty-four (81,054) 310-Wp and 315- Wp solar PV modules (or the equivalent) affixed to ground-mounted racks supported on driven piles, and it will utilize 2,200 kW inverters (or the equivalent). The anticipated useful life of the facility equipment is expected to be a minimum of 25 years.

Power will move into Dominion’s Elizabdth City Substation

The power generated by the facility will flow into the adjacent 34.5-kW transmission line toward DNCP’s Elizabeth City Substation, which is located approximately ten miles from the site. Approximately one mile of DNCP transmission line near the point of interconnection will require reconductoring.

The provision of interconnection service to the facility has been agreed upon pursuant to an executed interconnection service agreement (ISA) filed by PJM Interconnection with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on June 17, 2013. The ISA was accepted by a FERC letter order issued July 31, 2013. The ISA allows for up to 20 MW of solar generation to be connected to an existing 115-kV transmission line in the vicinity of the facility no later than June 2017. Currently, interconnection to DNCP’s system is expected to occur by the end of 2015 or early 2016. DNCP intends to begin selling the entire electric energy output of the facility to the Navy no later than April 1, 2016.

As of the date of this Sept. 14  filing, construction is underway, with Morgans Corner having signed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) agreement with Gehrlicher Solar America Corp. The EPC contractor has commenced civil construction activities including installation of access roads and storm water and erosion control measures, as well as mechanical construction activities including installation of driven piles.

The balance of these activities, the delivery of the solar PV modules and inverters, and electrical installation activities will take place over the next three months. Testing and commissioning of the facility is expected to take place in late 2015 or early 2016.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.