Spotsylvania supervisors on Tuesday will again address a proposal to build a 500-megawatt power plant in the western part of the county, a week after the board took testimony from the applicant.

Tuesday's meeting, which has other items on the agenda along with the solar proposal, is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Although last week’s meeting ran into the early morning hours, there was more left to go over, so the supervisors continued the meeting to this week in order to tackle the voluminous details and issues with the solar proposal.

Last week’s meeting was similar to those held throughout the past year, with opponents and supporters filling the board chambers to hear details related to the proposal by Utah-based Sustainable Power Group.

The company, also known as sPower, is seeking three special-use permits to build a $615 million facility with 1.8 million solar panels covering about half of a more than 6,300-acre site in the Wilderness area. The size of the facility, which would feed electricity into the grid and sell it to such companies as Microsoft and Apple, measures up with the largest solar generating plants in the country, most of which are built in remote, sparsely populated areas.

Strong opposition has arisen from a group of residents, most living in the area near the site, who say the project is too big to be built near homes. They say they are concerned about unknown impacts to people, the environment and the county.

Company officials and backers have promoted the project as safe and a good deal for the county financially.

County staff has recommended approval of the solar project, with a list of requirements addressing a variety of issues. The Planning Commission recommended approval of the smallest of the three connecting sites in the sPower plan, but denial of the larger ones, and suggested strict conditions should the facility be built.

The supervisors likely will spend much of the meeting pouring over conditions to be including in any permit. SPower has agreed to some of the conditions, but opposed or asked the county to curtail others.

While the board could vote on the permits Tuesday, one supervisor said that is doubtful because of the amount of information remaining to be examined.

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Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

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