West Virginia’s largest solar farm will sit on the site of the 5,800-acre Hobet Mine, one of the state’s largest former coal mines, which went bankrupt in 2015.


UnderstandSolar is a free service that links you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates. Tesla now offers price matching, so it’s important to shop for the best quotes. Click here to learn more and get your quotes. — *ad.


West Virginia’s largest solar farm

The solar farm will be situated on 3,000 acres of the site, which straddles Boone and Lincoln counties in the southwestern part of the state, near Charleston. It will power an adjacent 2,800-acre site that will host industry, lodging, hospitality, and recreation, and the whole site will be known as SunPark. The solar farm is the first phase of the project.

The 250-megawatt solar farm is being developed by Kansas City, Missouri-based solar and storage project development company Savion Energy. (It’s a Shell portfolio company.)

SEVA WV is the principal developer of the SunPark project, and it will be led by SEVA WV’s Devanna Corley, who said [via WV News]:

I am inspired by the blank canvas presented in Boone and Lincoln counties. There is a real opportunity to bring new business, grow population, develop tourism, and teach our children about the importance of renewable energy.

Like Senator [Joe] Manchin [D-WV], SEVA supports a diversity of energy policies. This includes renewables such as solar and wind, as well as coal and natural gas, which West Virginia markets on a global scale.

SunPark is due to be completed no later than 2024. The solar farm is an approximately $320 million investment and is expected to create between 250-300 construction jobs that will pay an average wage of $30 an hour.

In February 2020, Electrek reported that West Virginia lawmakers unanimously passed a bill to increase solar in the state overall.

April 8 correction: SEVA-WV is the principal developer of the Sun Park development project. Savion is the solar developer that has been selected to develop the solar portion of the project.

Read more: West Virginia may install solar on former coal sites

Electrek’s Take

I was feeling pretty happy about this news, until I read Corley’s quote. Corley, who is director of business development for development group The Thrasher Group, said SEVA WV, like Manchin, also supports a “diversity of energy policies,” including coal and natural gas.

We know why Manchin backs fossil fuels – they’re a cash cow for him.

But why does Corley back fossil fuels? Does she truly believe that energy diversity is the answer, or is she playing politics?

Read more: The real reason Joe Manchin is sabotaging the US clean energy plan

West Virginia governor Jim Justice said that “Corley and her team have been relentless in their efforts to make this project a reality.”

Why would SEVA WV even need to be “relentless” about the SunPark project? The coal industry is on the verge of becoming obsolete. That’s why this solar farm is being built on the site of a big shuttered coal mine that subjects its surrounding low-income populations to air and water pollution. Shouldn’t state legislators be rushing to make it as easy as possible for solar initiatives like this to move forward?

This is a great first for West Virginia, but as usual, its legislators continue to cling to fossil fuels. Heck, even the person who spearheaded this big solar farm says she still supports coal and natural gas.

The Solar Energy Industries Association reports that West Virginia actually dropped from 45th in the country in 2021, to 48th in national rankings of states for solar.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Photo: “Ramps Mountain Mobilization Hobet Mine WV 12-07-28-159.jpg” by Duffernutter is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.

Stay up to date with the latest content by subscribing to Electrek on Google News. You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.

About the Author

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.