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North Carolina Solar Farm Leads a Building Wave

| Wednesday October 12th, 2011 | 4 Comments

Photo courtesy of O2 Energies

Some 200 community members, local leaders, solar power industry participants, state government officials and members of Congress gathered in Mount Airy, North Carolina on Monday to dedicate next week’s commissioning of the Mayberry Solar Farm, the first of its kind in Surry County.

The Mayberry solar power farm project is an excellent illustration of how, with effective support and incentives, public-private sector partnerships collaborating on renewable energy projects can succeed in generating jobs and helping local businesses, as well as building community and improving the health and quality of the local environment.

More than 20 local and state businesses were involved in the solar farm’s construction, which took roughly two years, Meghan Evans reported for The Mount Airy News.

Built on six acres of land surrounding a municipal wastewater treatment plant, the 1.2 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) power farm’s ground-mounted solar panel arrays will supply clean, renewable power to some 150 local homes through Duke Energy’s grid.

Evans outlines the network of public and private business relationships involved in the project, and the government incentives that helped realize it.

A Community Solar Power Effort

O2 Energies worked with city officials over the past two years to obtain the right-of-way and lease to make use of the city wastewater plant’s surrounding land. Surrey Bank & Trust provide multimillion dollar loan financing. Strata Solar provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services.

Duke Energy and ElectriCities of North Carolina will buy the renewable energy credits (RECs) and electricity the solar power farm produces.

Strata Solar’s chief operating officer John Morrison and others involved believe the Mayberry Farm project is the leading edge of a solar power wave in North Carolina that is still building momentum.

Supporting this view, Duke Energy renewable energy managing director Owen Smith noted that the cost of solar power, as opposed to the cost of fossil fuels, continues to decline. Morrison added that not only is solar power clean and renewable, it also comes with the advantages of much more stability and predictability of electricity prices.

N.C. Rep. Sarah Stevens praised the Mayberry solar farm project, saying, “We’re becoming part of the future and that is sustainable energy,” according to the Mt. Airy News report. “It will become a beacon for renewable energy growth in this region,” added O2 Energies’ founder and managing director Joel Olsen.

O2 Energies’ solar power business is growing in North Carolina. It’s team of solar system installers has grown to 22.

O2 also recently purchased several acres of land from a Christmas tree farmer in Avery, N.C., investing a couple of million dollars to build a grid-connected solar power farm that’s now providing clean, renewable electrical power to 120-150 local homes.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Fraser/641765332 James Fraser

    The key to the future of energy is the decentralization of power generation. Too much money is wasted in subsidized schemes. If people could generate more power from home, things would be a lot better. There are plenty of guides out there on how to achieve this. Here for example is a good impartial review site on some of these guides: http://www.diyenergyathome.com/index.php/category/home-energy-guides/

    • Dougman1

      I live in Mount Airy and I built my own solar array, and my duke energy bill has dropped from about 300 a month to less than 30 dollars a month. It cost me a little ove 7,000 dollars out of my pocket. I did not apply for or recieve and tax credits or any help at all either. Honestly I just did not research the tax credit part is why, and it started out as just a fun weekends project. I am very happy with the way it has all turned out for my family too.

      • Dougman1

        I should also mention we did do several other things to cut down on our energy consumption too other than just installing the solar array.

  • http://accelerate-solar.com/ Patrique Veille

    I agree that an energy independent America is a must, helping cap rising energy costs for home and business owners alike. It is good to see growth in this industry, but there are still misconceptions about solar, and US subsidies in general. More information about solar can be found on the Accelerate Solar (Charlotte, NC) website http://accelerate-solar.com or Solar Energy Industries Association’s website at http://seia.org.