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Former DuPont site to be utilized for solar energy

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The site of the former DuPont Potomac River Works explosives manufacturing facility in Berkeley County will be the future home of a $100 million solar electricity production facility.

The Berkeley County Council announced Thursday that Torch Clean Energy, based in Colorado, is leading one of West Virginia’s first utility-scale solar projects.

The Bedington Energy Facility will stand on the site of a former industrial facility that was previously designated as a Brownfield site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency due to potential contamination from the DuPont operations. The project proposes turning 750 acres of land with limited potential use into what the company says will be a 100-megawatt solar array that can power thousands of homes and businesses.

“Torch is excited to be working with Berkeley County to develop the Bedington Energy Facility,” Torch Clean Energy President Jon Kilberg said. “The Project will repurpose a former explosives manufacturing site, and — with approximately $100 million invested — will be one of the nation’s largest brownfield renewable energy projects. The Project will be a beacon for leading companies that are seeking to purchase clean energy and open operations in Berkeley County and West Virginia.”

The agreement includes a payment in lieu of taxes, in which Torch Clean Energy agreed to make significant yearly payments based on the number of megawatts generated. The company will also install a 100-kilowatt solar array on a Berkeley County School at no cost to the Berkeley County Board of Education.

The project will result in the creation of between 150 and 200 construction jobs. The life expectancy of the solar panels is more than 35 years.