The application supports a 2020 bill passed by the West Virginia legislature that authorizes electric utilities to own and operate up to 200 megawatts of renewable generation facilities to help meet the state's electricity needs. The addition of new renewable generation also encourages economic development in West Virginia, as a growing number of companies require that a portion of the electricity they purchase be generated by renewable sources.
"Many of our customers have expressed strong interest in solar power in recent years, and we are excited about the opportunity to meet the growing demand for renewable energy in our service territory while supporting West Virginia's economic development goals," said Jim Myers, president of FirstEnergy's West Virginia operations.
If the program is approved, Mon Power would build, own and operate the five solar facilities, and the energy produced would be available for purchase by Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers in West Virginia. Customers who participate in the program would receive the equivalent of one solar renewable energy credit (SREC) for each megawatt hour of energy purchased. To help ensure the development of clean, renewable energy in the state, the cost of the solar generation would be paid for by Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers in West Virginia through a nominal solar surcharge until all the energy credits are purchased by program participants.
Once approved, procurement, groundbreaking and permitting would begin on the first phase of solar facilities as soon as 2022, with all five expected to be completed before the end of 2025.
Four of the five proposed sites are on property owned by Mon Power or its affiliates, and the fifth location is still under review. The sites include:
"We believe this is an exciting new use for several underutilized properties that will diversify our energy sources with clean, renewable options and help us continue to provide safe, reliable power to our customers in West Virginia," added Myers.
Mon Power serves about 395,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties. Potomac Edison serves about 275,000 customers in seven counties in Maryland and 151,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.