Residents of Martinsburg may have noticed new construction on Flat Rock Road recently.
The project being constructed is a 4.8 MW community solar installation due to be completed later this Spring.
“Community solar provides homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation regardless of the suitability of their home or business for an on-site solar array,”US Light Energy Communications Outreach and Engagement Manager Scot Schechner, said. “By installing solar panels in a sunny, remote location, individuals and businesses around the Community Solar farm can subscribe to the clean energy it creates, and accumulate credits towards the balance on their utility account. You can reduce the cost of your electricity, help put more clean, renewable solar power into our energy supply, and never see a solar panel on your roof.”
The Martinsburg location was deemed an ideal spot for a solar project.
“We actually evaluate potential sites based on a fairly long list of factors, including size, topography, distance to required infrastructure, environmental impact, construction costs, etc., along with interest and input form the landowner,” Schecher said. “This site checked all of those boxes.”
US Light Energy, based out of Latham, New York, is a distributed generation energy development company specializing in community solar facilities and renewable energy solutions for residential, small commercial, and municipal customers.
A solar farm, or also known as a community solar project, is a large group of solar panels installed in a strategic location that benefits from a lot of sunlight. Anyone in the area of the array can subscribe to the clean energy produced by the panels and get credits on their regular utility bill, according to US Light Energy.
When a customer subscribes to the solar farm project, they then will receive two bills each month. One bill will be sent from their regular utility company with the applied solar credits. This bill typically has a very low if not negative/credited balance. The second bill will be sent from the solar provider for the negotiated rate per kWh for the power allocated to the subscriber from the solar array.
The area where the new solar farm is being constructed is part of the local snowmobile trail, which sometimes receives heavy snowmobile traffic. The radio station covering the Martinsburg area, 101.3 The Moose, shared a snowmobile trail report that warned snowmobilers to be aware of heavy equipment and trucks in the vicinity, as the road is very narrow at this time.
US Light Energy has multiple solar farm locations throughout the state.
“Our objective is always the same though,” Schecher said. “To develop community solar projects that have a positive impact on the environment and the surrounding community.”