The Colorado-based Corporation will supply Berkeley Co. with a $100 million solar manufacturing plant

A renewable energy corporation headquartered in Colorado has revealed plans to build a $100 million solar manufacturing plant in Berkeley County, rendering it among the first solar plants in the Mountain State on a utility-scale. The Berkeley County Council revealed the intentions of Torch Clean Energy, or Torch, to build a $100 million solar power generation plant at the old Dupont Potomac River Works explosives manufacturing plant, to be known as the Bedington Energy Facility, throughout its frequently scheduled meeting.

The Torch is proud to be partnering with Berkeley County to build the Beddington Energy Plant,” stated Jon Kilberg, who works at the Torch Clean Energy as the President, in a press statement issued by county officials. “The project will reconfigure a former industrial site for explosives, which will be among the biggest brownfield green energy ventures in the country with nearly $100 million invested. The venture will be a gateway for leading businesses in Berkeley County as well as West Virginia looking to buy renewable energy and open services.”

The project aims to convert 750 acres of land with limited possible usage into the solar array of about 100 megawatts that will fuel thousands of households and companies, the release stated. As clarified during a meeting, under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) deal made with the firm, Torch pledged to implement a “significant” annual payment depending on megawatts of the generating equipment that were installed on the property, as well as an extra one-time payment to Berkeley County Council for enhancements to “quality of life” as well as the promise of implementation of a 100-kilowatt solar array on the Berkeley County School at no expenditure to County Board of Education of Berkeley County. 

As per the release, Torch will cover all property taxes on equipment in the future following the term of PILOT, incur the local property taxes on real estate and raise the state tax revenue via income taxes. The release also said that the county officials are optimistic that the plant would enable other businesses to invest in Berkeley County, with the projected life of solar panels to be beyond 35 years.

“As more businesses are striving to reduce their carbon footprint, many businesses are looking to buy power directly from the suppliers of clean energy,” the release stated. “Once operating, this project would increase the generation of solar energy from West Virginia by almost 10 times. The Solar Energy Industries Association rates West Virginia 49th for the installed solar energy capability with a meager 10.52 megawatts operational to date, both industrial as well as residential solar arrays.”

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