Dominion Energy wants to put a solar array on top of the parking garage at its Tredegar Street office complex along the north bank of the James River in downtown Richmond.
Plans call for adding 1,400 solar panels on top of the five-story, 400-vehicle parking garage that is part of a complex of three office buildings at 120 Tredegar St. that the company has used as its corporate headquarters for the past 21 years.
Once operational — which is expected to be next spring — the solar project would generate 480 kilowatts of electricity, or roughly enough energy equal to powering 120 homes, the company said.
It would be the largest solar array in downtown Richmond and the second largest within the city of Richmond. The largest in the city is at Huguenot High School, which has 631 kilowatts of solar energy installed on its roof.
Richmond-based Dominion Energy said the solar project at its Tredegar Street complex, where it typically employs about 500 people, will not impede views of the James River from the Oregon Hill neighborhood and surrounding areas.
“We have been building solar for a lot of our large customers,” Dominion spokesperson Ryan Frazier said. “We wanted to look for properties that we own [where] we can do our own project. We have done a canopy array before. We have the space that was conducive to it, and the Richmond area was the best spot to do the solar project.”
Dominion filed plans with the city late last week to make sure the company was correctly reading height restrictions from a special use permit that the city granted in 2001.
The top part of the parking deck is now about 91 feet tall above sea level. The canopy solar array would be between 98 feet and 108 feet above sea level — or just below the 112.5 feet high restriction that is allowed under the permit, the company said. The solar panels would be facing south.
The company expects the necessary permits for the project to be approved by the end of the year. Construction, which would start early next year, should take about three or four months to complete. The solar array should be operational by April.
Dominion Energy, the parent company of the state’s largest utility, paid $18.5 million in 1998 for the riverside complex of buildings once used as the corporate headquarters of tissue and paper maker Fort James Corp. and its predecessor, James River Corp. Dominion moved into the complex in 1999.
Dominion is working on the solar project with Sun Tribe, a solar developer based in Charlottesville.
The company said any revenue generated by the array will be used to support education initiatives in Richmond.