Small solar farm proposed off Courthouse Highway

Published 5:19 pm Friday, October 13, 2023

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A proposed solar farm that would be among Isle of Wight County’s smallest is set to go before the county’s Planning Commission on Oct. 24 for a public hearing.

According to a public notice set for publication in The Smithfield Times’ Oct. 11 edition, Courthouse Hwy Solar 1 LLC and landowner Micheal Doggett have applied for a conditional use permit to allow a 3-megawatt solar farm.

The application, which was submitted to county staff in March, proposed solar panels on 18 acres of a roughly 148-acre farm bordering Courthouse Highway and Poorhouse Road, roughly half a mile from the county courthouse and government complex.

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The location is also just over a mile north of the 20-megawatt, 170-acre Solidago solar farm county supervisors approved in 2018.

The March 22 application listed Massachusetts-based New Leaf Energy as the project’s developer, and asserts the remaining 131 acres would remain in agricultural use.

Doggett’s application is one of five solar farm proposals that were pending as of August — three of the five, including Dogged’s, call for smaller, 3-megawatt projects.

Isle of Wight County supervisors have approved eight solar farms to date, though only one — the 180-acre Woodland solar farm off Longview Drive — is presently operating.

Doggett’s proposal is comparable in size to the 2-megawatt Nuby Run solar farm, which is the county’s smallest approved solar project to date and planned for 20 acres along Orbit Road. County supervisors approved Nuby Run in 2022.