Dominion Energy Announces Solar Project on Former Mines
October 2021

​Last month, Dominion Energy Virginia and The Nature Conservancy announced an innovative collaboration to develop one of the first universal (or large-scale) solar projects on former surface mines in the coalfields of southwest Virginia. 

Among its benefits, the Highlands Solar Project will:

  • Repurpose roughly 1,200 acres of the former Red Onion surface mine and surrounding properties. 
  • Generate approximately 50 megawatts of solar energy, enough to power 12,500 homes at peak output. 
  • Provide benefits to the area, including an increase in local tax revenues, the ability to provide additional funding through solar siting agreements, and the creation of clean energy jobs.

Dominion Energy Virginia plans to begin construction in 2024 or 2025, subject to review and approval by the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

"This project is a huge win for Southwest Virginia's economy," said Ed Baine, President of Dominion Energy Virginia. "It's also another major step toward building a 100 percent clean energy economy in Virginia. Repurposing former coal mines for solar is a smart way to enhance the region's economy and bring renewables to Southwest Virginia."

Brad Kreps, director of The Nature Conservancy's Clinch Valley Program, said some of the region’s former mined lands are well-suited for solar development.

"By directing development toward these areas, it will help us conserve the region's intact forests for wood products, carbon storage, wildlife habitats, outdoor recreation, and tourism,” Kreps said. “By collaborating with Dominion Energy and other companies on these initial projects, we hope to develop a model that can be replicated in other coal mining regions across the U.S."

The Highlands Solar Project will be developed within the Cumberland Forest Project, which is managed by The Nature Conservancy, and surrounding properties.

Over the next two to three years, Dominion Energy will conduct additional field studies, further develop the project plans, and complete the local and state permitting processes. The company will develop the project jointly with ANTARES Group, which will serve as the owner's engineer.

In addition to reinvesting in southwest Virginia's economy, the project will support the goals of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which calls for Dominion Energy Virginia to produce its electricity from 100 percent carbon-free sources by 2045.

This is another example of how EEI’s member companies are investing in and developing renewable energy projects to help achieve the industry’s clean energy vision and move toward a carbon-free future. Learn more on EEI’s Clean Energy webpage.

Visit Dominion Energy’s website​ to read the full press release.