Dallas-based developer Leeward Renewable Energy has initiated construction on its Oak Trail Solar facility near Moyock, North Carolina.
Blue Ridge Power is selected as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for this project, which includes the use of durable First Solar photovoltaic solar modules and establishment of a pollinator habitat.
“Oak Trail Solar marks another milestone in the growth of LRE’s renewable energy portfolio and is an example of how we manage our projects in alignment with our core values of protecting and respecting the environment and communities in which we operate,” said Sam Mangrum, SVP of Project Execution at LRE. “We look forward to bringing the project online next year and supporting Verizon’s efforts to meet its net zero operational goal.”
The First Solar PV modules use less energy, water and semiconductor material in the manufacturing process. The pollinator habitat will be developed across 30% of the project acreage and involve the planting of native vegetation and wildflowers.
“The Oak Trail Solar project represents meaningful growth with a low impact for Currituck County,” said Josh Bass, president, Currituck Chamber of Commerce. “In addition to helping North Carolina achieve its clean energy goals, this project will have a significant and positive economic impact to our County and schools without stressing the County’s infrastructure. We’re proud and excited to have Oak Trail Solar as part of our community.”
The project will create approximately 280 jobs at peak construction and benefit local businesses. It will also provide a property tax base for Currituck County and area schools.
Leeward Renewable Energy has a long-term PPA with Verizon Communications for this project, whereby the firm will sell 100 MW of the renewable energy generated at the site to the telecom firm. Overall, Leeward has been a significant developer of wind power in Texas and has more than 2,500 MW of installed capacity,
“Verizon is committed to protecting our planet by supporting the production of renewable energy and the transition to a greener U.S. energy grid,” said James Gowen, Verizon’s chief sustainability officer and senior vice president, global supply chain. “The renewable energy produced by the Oak Trail Solar project will help us achieve net zero emissions in our operations by 2035.”
The Oak Trail solar farm will initially top out at about 100 MW of generational capacity and will sit on approximately 1,159 acres. The project is expected to be completed and operational by mid-2023.
Last year, the developer agreed to acquire 650 MW-dc of solar photovoltaic modules and platfform from First Solar. Leeward is a portfolio company of OMERS Infrastructure.