The North Carolina Utilities Commission in an Oct. 20 order allowed Innovative Solar 46 LLC to perform construction work in an additional land area for its 80-MW (ac) project that is not technically covered at this point by a commission authorization known as a certificate of public convenience and necessity.
In September 2014, the commission granted a certificate to the company for an 80-MW solar facility to be constructed on approximately 450 acres located at 1000 Roslin Farm Road, Hope Mills, Cumberland County, North Carolina. On Sept. 9 of this year, Innovative Solar 46 filed a letter with the commission stating that the new owner of the applicant is Entropy Investment Management LLC.
On Oct. 2, the project company filed a letter with the commission stating that it has determined that the original developer of the facility amended the original lease in May 2015 to add additional acreage to the facility site, bringing the total leased area within which the facility will be constructed to approximately 532 acres. However, the expanded leased area continues to include only the three original parcels of land that were included in the original site plan, and the physical address of the facility remains the same. In addition, it stated that the facility is under construction.
Based on the amendment to the application, on Oct. 8 the commission issued an order requiring further review that, among other things, directed the Chief Clerk of the commission to deliver copies of the amended application and order to the Clearinghouse Coordinator of the Office of Policy and Planning of the Department of Administration for distribution to state agencies having an interest in the application. Further, the Oct. 8 order prohibited construction of any portion of the solar facility on the additional land until the commission issues an order authorizing construction there.
On Oct. 16, the company asked the commission for interim permission to begin construction on the additional 83 acres added to the project site. It said that it intends to achieve commercial operation of the solar facility by December 2015 and that commission approval of limited construction authority on the additional 83 acres is critical to achieving that goal, as well as to qualifying for the North Carolina renewable energy tax credit in 2015. The applicant stated that the limited construction authority requested would include construction of perimeter fencing, erosion control measures, pile installation, equipment pads and underground wiring on the additional 83 acres, but would not include installation of the solar photovoltaic modules.
The company said the 83 additional acres is contiguous to the approximately 450 acres originally identified in the certificate application and is similarly undeveloped agricultural land. Further, it stated that it obtained a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) for the full 532 acre facility site, and that the ESA determined that no recognized environmental conditions exist on the site.
Said the Oct. 20 commission order: “Based on the foregoing and the record, the Chairman finds good cause to grant the Applicant the authority to construct perimeter fencing, erosion control measures, pile installation, equipment pads and underground wiring on the additional 83 acres identified in the Applicant’s October 2, 2015 amendment to its application, subject to the conditions set forth in the ordering paragraphs below.”