RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) -- The Commonwealth of Virginia, Microsoft and Dominion have announced a partnership to build a new facility that will bring 20 megawatts of solar energy onto the grid in Virginia.

Governor Terry McAuliffe spoke at the announcement Wednesday in Richmond. “This agreement is a solid step forward in our ongoing effort to make Virginia a leader in the renewable energy economy. This partnership will help reduce Virginia’s carbon emissions and diversify our energy portfolio, while growing the solar and data center industries in Virginia. This is a prime example of the type of creative thinking and public-private cooperation we need to build a new Virginia economy,” said McAuliffe.

“By investing in these projects and partnering with states and utilities, Microsoft can provide long-term certainty needed to expand the amount of renewable energy available on the grid,” said Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist, Microsoft. “We are pleased to play a role in this project, as it will bring new, additional clean energy onto the grid in Virginia.”

Dominion Virginia Power will build the facility on land it already owns in Fauquier County, adjacent to its Remington generating station.

The project is anticipated to be in service in late 2017, subject to regulatory approval. The Commonwealth of Virginia will sign a purchase agreement with Dominion to purchase 100 percent of the electricity generated from the project. Microsoft will purchase and retire the green attributes from the project to satisfy its sustainability goals.

The energy created will be enough to power 5,000 homes.

“This forward-looking partnership will assist us in our continued commitment to increase the renewable energy available to serve our customers in Virginia,” said Thomas F. Farrell, II, CEO of Dominion Resources, Inc., the parent company of Dominion Virginia Power. “Microsoft and the Commonwealth play key roles in making this large-scale solar project possible, and we look forward to working with them.”