Zoning tweak could bring Dominion solar farm at Dulles Airport closer to takeoff

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will soon vote on a zoning change that could be a large step toward powering up Dominion Energy’s proposed solar farm at Dulles International Airport.

According to an agenda item for the board’s Oct. 12 public meeting, zoning changes would clear the way for Dominion to build the solar farm on 835 acres of land that is currently marked for single residential homes.

The solar farm would include a solar array capable of producing 100 megawatts of solar generation and 50-megawatt battery storage system. The power generated would feed the Northern Virginia electrical grid — enough to provide power to more than 37,000 homes, as well as Dulles Airport itself.

Under the arrangement, Dominion would not lease the land directly from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Instead, the energy company will buy the airport a fleet of electric buses and electric utility buses, and provide the power to keep the vehicles running.

The airport would get 18 electric buses and 50 electric vehicles. The buses would carry passengers on airport property as well as between parking lots and terminals, while the electric vehicles would be used by airport employees.

In addition, Dominion would build a small-scale carport solar system at the Dulles Airport Green Economy Lot, which would generate and store power solely for the airport’s electric vehicle fleet.

The airport would not have to pay for the power to keep the vehicles running, since the carport solar system won’t be connected to the grid.

The solar farm has been in the works since May 2018 and is one of many solar energy projects Dominion is pursuing in order to comply with the Virginia Clean Economy Act passed in 2020, which requires that Dominion be 100% carbon free by 2045.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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