Dominion partners with Navy on 18-MW solar project at Virginia base

Dominion Virginia Power, the Department of the Navy and the Commonwealth of Virginia have reached an agreement to construct a 21-MW (dc) (18-MW ac) solar facility at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va.

Virginia Electric and Power d/b/a Dominion Virginia Power is a unit of Dominion Resources (NYSE: D).

“Solar is an integral part of Dominion’s commitment to renewable energy,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion chairman, president and CEO, in an Aug. 2 statement. “The Oceana solar facility, along with four other large solar facilities we have announced in Virginia, will bring clean energy to the state, new jobs and other economic benefits. Partnerships like the ones highlighted with the Department of Navy and the Commonwealth help to make our state a more attractive place to live, work and do business.”

Dominion filed a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity permit application with the Virginia State Corporation Commission on Aug. 1. The facility is expected to be completed and operational in late 2017. In exchange for the nearly 100 acres that will house the 179,000 solar panels, the Navy will receive an alternative electric feed, which will increase energy resiliency on the base.

This is the second solar project Dominion has collaborated on with the Navy. In December 2015, construction was completed at Morgans Corner, a fixed-tilt 25-MW (dc) (20-MW ac) facility spanning 110 acres and consisting of 81,054 solar panels located in Pasquotank County, N.C. The project is under a power purchase agreement.

“Not only did we meet the one gigawatt (GW) goal ashore five years early, we surpassed it – reaching 1.1 GW by the end of last year. In doing so we’ve achieved $90 million in nominal energy cost savings, $62 million in energy security hardware upgrades to bases, 170 megawatts of access to power during outages and 22 million tons of CO2 abated. And we are just getting started,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

Said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe: “This announcement shows that the Commonwealth is leading by example in driving the clean energy economy forward in Virginia and working to combat climate change. It also highlights the importance my administration places on working with our most important economic partners like the U.S. Department of the Navy.”

Dominion will retire, on the Commonwealth’s behalf, renewable energy certificates in an amount equivalent to the amount of RECs generated by the Oceana solar facility.

The total project, including related distribution facilities, is expected to cost approximately $39.6 million, excluding financing costs, or approximately $2,252/kilowatt (kW) at the 17.6 MW (nominal AC) rating.

Dominion Virginia Power used a competitive bid process to select an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor. The company evaluated bids on several criteria: historical safety record of the contractor, proposed schedule and construction costs, the contractor’s previous record with Dominion Virginia Power or its affiliates, Virginia-based content of subcontractors and laborers, the contractor’s solar experience, and the planned equipment selection, as well as several other considerations. The company said it is finalizing the EPC contractor selection and award process.

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.