FirstEnergy’s subsidiary Mon Power has completed its solar site at the approximately 80-acre Fort Martin coal-fired power station in Maidsville, West Virginia.
About 50,000 solar panels are generating renewable energy at the site, which is expected to produce up to 18.9 MW of solar energy per hour. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association estimates, 1 MW of solar energy powers a national average of 173 homes.
While the project’s solar panels, racking systems and supporting electrical equipment were manufactured in the U.S., Mon Power appointed more than 100 local union workers from the Morgantown and Parkersburg areas to complete the project.
The solar site is among the five solar sites Mon Power and its sister company Potomac Edison have planned to help strengthen the region's energy mix. The five sites together are expected to generate up to 50 MW of renewable energy.
The West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the companies' request to construct the Fort Martin solar site and two other sites in Rivesville, Marion County (5.5 MW) and Marlowe, Berkeley County (5.7 MW). The two additional sites are expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
The companies anticipate to receive final approval from the PSC to build the additional two solar sites in Davis, Tucker County (11.5 MW), and Weirton, Hancock County (8.4 MW) by the end of 2024, once customers subscribe to the energy produced by them. Construction of these two sites is projected to be completed by the end of 2025.
The Fort Martin coal-fired power plant includes two generating units totaling close to 1.1 GW in capacity. Previous news reports noted that the station’s end-of-life date is projected at 2035 or earlier.
West Virginia currently ranks near the bottom for installed solar capacity in the U.S., according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Automaker Toyota has installed 2.6 MW of solar at its facility in the state, while other investors are exploring low and no-carbon generation projects for data centers.