McKim & Creed provided civil engineering, electrical design and permitting for Colonial Trail West (CTW), a solar project that produces solar energy for tens of thousands of homes. The site encompasses approximately 1,800 acres and generates 142 Mw of power. Greenhouse gas emission equivalencies include:
- 259,021 tons of carbon dioxide offset
- 55,465 passenger vehicles off the road
- 27,969 homes’ electricity use for a year
- 305,090 acres of U.S. forests’ absorbed CO2
The environmental challenges of CTW, combined with a compressed schedule, required an innovative approach to both design and efficiency. The site is infiltrated with almost 200 acres of wetland fingers. Also, a large portion drains to the James River. This necessitated standard permitting as well as compliance with the more restrictive Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act of 1988. Almost 200 sediment / stormwater basins were required, and McKim & Creed successfully prepared the plans and calculations in just over two months.
McKim & Creed also developed an innovative design approach that minimized environmental impacts and saved our client $1 million in construction costs. By combining the temporary erosion control and permanent stormwater management plan requirements, the development was given significantly more time to establish adequate vegetative stabilization. This converted temporary measures into permanent solutions and resulted in no land disturbance upon construction completion. Environmental regulators indicated that this approach would be incorporated in future solar farms in Virginia.