Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the status of the project application.
WISE COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) — A 40MW solar farm could be constructed in Southwest Virginia down the road, and developers requested over $1 million in additional funding from the federal government.
According to a grant application with Virginia Energy, Sun Tribe Development asked for $1.5 million in Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) funding to build a 250-acre complex in Wise County.
In the company’s application, Sun Tribe said the federal funding would pair with over $50 million in private investment that hasn’t yet been secured. The project would be built on the former Bold Camp site that was significantly surface mined, leaving several local streams clogged and multiple mine portals abandoned.
To get the estimated 40MW of peak production to the local grid, the project also includes a 2-mile tie line from the site to a nearby substation.
If ever approved and funded, Sun Tribe said it expects a construction start date in 2025 and full operation by 2026. As part of that construction, the application projected around 137 temporary local jobs.
Once the project is complete, Sun Tribe estimated an economic impact of $20 million over its lifetime.
“As the first in a series of anticipated solar developments,” the application said, “the 40 MW Bold Camp Project is anticipated to serve as a learning opportunity for future projects on mine sites across the coalfields and serve as a catalytic opportunity to generate support for ancillary businesses.”
As it stands, the application said developers have already acquired the site and are in the process of negotiating for mineral rights over the area. Geological surveys that predict low amounts of settling and instability were also completed and submitted with the application.
While the funding was not recommended as part of Fiscal Year 21’s grant cycle, commonwealth officials said applicants can always try again next year.