The Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors is expected to schedule a public hearing for a solar facility proposal at its Tuesday meeting.

In the meantime, the applicant, Sustainable Power Group, plans to hold its own meetings throughout the county to provide details on the proposal, which has drawn intense opposition from residents who live near the site in a rural area in the western part of the county.

Meetings will be held in each of the county’s magisterial districts, according to company spokeswoman Taylor Keeney. The first is at 6 p.m. Monday at the Country Inn and Suites on U.S. 1 in the Massaponax area.

“The purpose of these open houses is to inform residents about the project and ensure that as many people as possible have heard about it and have their questions answered,” she said in an email.

Sustainable Power Group, also known as sPower, proposed the solar facility early last year and it has been winding through the process since.

The county’s Planning Commission last month denied two of three special permits sPower applied for to construct the 500 megawatt facility on land zoned for agricultural use. The company wants to install about 1.8 million solar panels on three swaths of timberland totaling 6,300 acres.

The site is bordered, in places, by homes, including the Fawn Lake neighborhood. Residents have formed groups in an effort to oppose the project.

Critics have said the project is too big to be near homes and that it poses potential health and environmental risks. They also are concerned about impacts to property values and say the county could, in the end, be left with a costly mess to clean up.

The company disputes opponents’ claims, saying its scientific evidence backs up its position that the facility would be safe. Company officials also contend that its information has been vetted by intense regulatory oversight while the opponents’ information has not.

The company made numerous adjustments to the plans before the planning commission set more conditions last month.

The additional restrictions focused on such things as setbacks from properties, erosion control, construction impacts, prohibiting solar panels with cadmium telluride, the use of groundwater and burning debris.

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Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

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