- Associated Press - Saturday, January 25, 2020

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - More than a year after requesting proposals for large-scale solar farms, Appalachian Power Co. is still searching for projects.

The utility, which issued its call for solar farms in November 2018, recently renewed that request when the first round “did not result in any viable projects,” Appalachian Power said in a news release.

Appalachian does not own any solar facilities, although it has agreed to purchase power from a 150-acre bank of solar panels planned in Campbell County. The Depot Solar Center is expected to generate 15 megawatts of electricity when it is completed late this year.

In its latest request for proposals, Appalachian said it is looking to buy projects that will produce up to 200 megawatts - enough to power more than 30,000 homes, the Roanoke Times reported.

About 15 developers submitted bids previously.

The proposals were not accepted for a variety of reasons. Some didn’t meet the outlined criteria while others not considered economically competitive, Appalachian spokeswoman Teresa Hall said. In some cases, the developer failed to resolve permitting or cost issues before a contract could be signed, Hall said.

Appalachian gets about 80% of its electricity from fossil fuels - coal and natural gas - and some critics say the utility is not moving fast enough to transition to renewable energy, especially as the costs continue to decline.

A 2018 law requires Appalachian to construct or acquire solar generation projects capable of producing at least 200 megawatts by July 1, 2028.

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