Solar panels installed on land owned by the Stephens County Development Authority are up and running.
The solar panels are located in the area of Turner and Wolf Pit roads.
Development Authority Executive Director Tim Martin said that the panels were turned on and began producing 700 kilowatts of electricity to send to the Georgia Power grid on Tuesday morning.
Martin said it is part of an initiative by Georgia Power to increase solar power usage.
“Georgia Power Company wanted to increase the percentage in their portfolio of all sources of electricity, they wanted more solar,” said Martin. “So they created this advanced solar initiative and we became part of that.”
United Renewable Energy of Alpharetta, Georgia actually built and is running the solar panel farm.
URE leases the land where the solar panels sit from the Development Authority.
Martin said he feels participating in this project has a couple of different benefits for Stephens County.
“We own this land,” said Martin. “It was doing a good job of holding the world together, but nothing else. It was not productive. Now, with this addition to our community, it is in productive use.”
He also said it is exciting to be a part of the future that is solar power.
Martin said that the initiative was so popular in its first year that Georgia Power is selecting more sites to install more solar panels and grow the program.
He said Stephens County has submitted a number of sites for Georgia Power to consider.
“We have submitted the balance of our property out at that site for this round of consideration,” said Martin. “The other site that we did present (was) our roof mount, the rooftop at Stephens County High School.”
Martin said they hope to hear in late May or early June whether Stephens County has additional sites selected for more solar panels.
April 25, 2014
By Charlie Bauder