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HURLEY, Va. — A huge solar farm that will create 250 construction jobs and generate 60 megawatts of electricity is coming to Buchanan County, Va., Virginia lawmakers announced Tuesday.

Delegate James “Will” Morefield, R-Tazewell, and Senator Travis Hackworth, R-38th District, announced that Buchanan County will soon be the home to the second largest solar farm in the U.S. Appalachian Mountain Range and the largest in Virginia’s coalfields.

The facility will be located near the town of Hurley, Va. close to the Kentucky and West Virginia border on a reclaimed coal mining surface operation. The planned site will utilize approximately 700 acres and produce a minimum of 60 megawatts with the capability of expanding up to 75 megawatts. The company has a lease option of 1,600 acres of usable property for expansion, according to the joint announcement.

During its 10 to 14-month construction phase, the solar farm will create 250 jobs, provide a long-term tax revenue stream for Buchanan County, and provide the coalfields with an attractive renewable energy asset that many high-tech companies such as data centers companies are looking for, Morefield and Hackworth said.

The Buchanan County Board of Supervisors recently adopted a resolution and voted unanimously to support a county application for federal Abandoned Mine Land Pilot (AML) funds to assist the project on behalf of Savion, LLC and Edelen Renewables, national leaders in renewable energy development, according to the announcement.

“This is welcome news for the Hurley community, Buchanan County and Southwest Virginia. I have been working on this project for over a year and excited to see it come to fruition,” Morefield stated. “This project will not only bring a much-needed economic boost to the region but will help us in our efforts to diversify the economy and attract new industries such as data centers to the Virginia Coalfields.”

“We adopted incentives to attract Data Centers to economically distressed localities in the last General Assembly session. My data center incentive bill (HB 2273) was signed into law by the governor a few days ago,” Morefield added. “Data center companies are looking for these types of renewable energy assets and this is a piece of putting the puzzle together to make our region even more attractive to high-tech companies.”

Hackworth said the project will benefit the region for many years.

“I was born and spent most of my childhood in Buchanan County. Our coalfield counties must continue to make every effort to diversify the economy. I will strongly support our coal mining and natural gas jobs,” he stated. “I will also make certain that we leave no stone unturned and will support projects such as this solar development so that Southwest Virginia can take advantage of every opportunity. Together we must make every effort to ensure that Southwest Virginia has a bright future.”

An official with Edelen Renewables said he was happy to see the project come to the region.

“As somebody who is from Kentucky, I care about coal country and want to demonstrate that we have a place for the people who literally powered the industrial development for our economy for 100 years and that we have a place for them in the next hundred years. Construction is anticipated to begin by 2023,” said Adam Edelen, CEO of Edelen Renewables. “Our team cannot express how much we appreciate the assistance, leadership, and support we have received from Delegate Will Morefield, Senator Travis Hackworth, the Buchanan County Board of Supervisors and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA). Their commitment is exactly what our company is looking for.”

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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