The money was good, and the terms seemed sound, he says. A lot of land is needed for solar farms big enough to power a Facebook data center. The last crops were harvested in the fall of 2018, and several months later, construction crews moved in and began preparing the land for what will be 355,124 solar panels, shipped from Hanwha Q Cells in Dalton. hide caption. An aerial view of the 52-megawatt solar farm built by Silicon Ranch in Hazlehurst, Ga. This project is bringing badly needed tax revenue to Early County, where the poverty rate is about 27%. And soon after, if Will Harris has his way, acre after acre of healthy pasture, a sign of an ecosystem restored. Completed in 2015, this photovoltaic project has enough electric capacity to power more than 2,263 homes. Operating at capacity, the factory is now assembling 10,000 panels a day. Not a subscriber or a registered user yet? Solar Market Insight Report compiled by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). "Hate to see it go," Singletary says, "but things change, and it was a golden opportunity. "They knew we were good for manufacturing jobs and plenty of them," he says. “Georgia Power’s significant commitment to renewable energy, paired with Twiggs County’s strong leadership and supportive business environment, combine to serve as a great example of how solar can be seamlessly included in the region’s energy mix.”. Commercial Solar Farms Georgia Solar Installers would like to help you develop your solar farm in our peach state. Most large U.S. PV installations are located in the desert Southwest, in California and Arizona. This 102.5-megawatt power plant will generate electricity for Facebook's new data center in Newton County, Ga., 200 miles away. This 102.5-megawatt power plant will generate electricity for Facebook's new data center in Newton County, Ga., 200 miles away. It has diversified into hardwood, tile, laminate and other materials. Johnathon Kelso for NPR Solar companies had used historical data to pinpoint where they could get good sunlight on large tracts of land near transmission lines. Solar Companies in Georgia "You will see a sea of glass, silicon and steel," he says, looking out over this sunny, southwest Georgia landscape. Today, he practices regenerative land management, restoring cycles of nature to land degraded by industrialized processes. "The vast majority of these will end up in projects in the U.S.", The Hanwha Q Cells assembly plant in Dalton, Ga., assembles 10,000 solar panels a day. "We don't know how much carrying capacity it's got for a while. Had there been a golden opportunity to sell a piece of his land for a nuclear plant or a coal plant, Singletary says he probably would have taken that, too. When grass is allowed to grow on the pastures, it puts down deep roots, storing carbon in the soil that it draws out of the atmosphere. Use SolarReviews to get company reviews and estimates for solar in your area. Will Harris, a fourth-generation cattleman and the owner of White Oak Pastures, sits in his office in downtown Bluffton, Ga. An aerial view of the 52-megawatt solar farm built by Silicon Ranch in Hazlehurst, Ga. Data centers represent more than 90% of Facebook's energy demand, says Paul Clements, the company's director of energy and infrastructure, and even with an energy-efficient design, this one is projected to use the same amount of electricity as a small- to mid-size city. Nick de Vries, vice president of technology and asset management for Silicon Ranch, says one of the beauties of solar is how fast it can all come together. A 200-MW solar power plant is being planned at a 2,000-acre site near Warner Robins, Georgia, a project that at present would be the largest standalone solar facility in the U.S. Southeast. These days, a more accurate title would be floor covering capital of the world. Nathan Deal has signed into law consensus legislation which will make it easier and more affordable for homeowners, businesses, churches, schools, nonprofits, military facilities, and police and fire departments to install rooftop solar systems across the state. As a result, the solar boom is reaching Early County in the state's farthest southwest corner — peanut, corn and cotton country. Why not him, using regenerative farming techniques? Georgia's then-Gov. SEIA says the largest solar installation in the state at present is the 103-MW Butler Solar Facility in Butler—about 100 miles south of Atlanta and 40 miles west of Warner Robins—which came online in late 2016. hide caption. Ron Vuocolo/Silicon Ranch Intrusion-Tolerant SCADA Demonstrated at Power Plant, D.C. hide caption. Then last year, Steve Singletary, whose family has owned land in Early County since the 1930s, got a different kind of offer, one he couldn't turn down. "I'm just skeptical of the whole thing. "We have to have access to 100% renewable energy for our facilities. If you're looking for information about local solar companies, check out EnergySage's list of solar companies in Georgia, where you can check out information about each company and see real customer reviews. And land in northern Georgia is expensive. But Will It Slow Climate Change. “Recently completed large-scale solar projects across Georgia are serving customers today, and the Twiggs County project will be the latest addition, allowing Georgia Power customers to benefit from cost-effective, competitive solar as part of our diverse generation mix.”. Of that, $5 million will go to the school system. Georgia Power, part of Southern Co., in its 2016 Integrated Resource Plan authorized the development of commercial and industrial (C&I) renewable generation “that would allow Georgia Power to procure up to 200 MW of additional renewable generation through Power Purchase Agreements that C&I customers could utilize to support their sustainability initiatives,” according to Georgia Power’s website. The facility, built by First Solar—which operates and maintains the plant—is sited on about 1,070 acres. Instead, there are powerful market forces at work. 7; Check out our Major Solar Projects List for more notable installations. His only child, a daughter, has a career as a physical therapist. In between grazing periods, the land would have time to recover. "That's important for business. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says Georgia ranks ninth among U.S. states with just more than 1,500 MW of installed solar generation capacity. "Now we can source more and more of the different parts that go into this construction locally — either from within the state or surrounding states. Below the surface of the soil is ours," Harris says. Get SEIA emails and stay on top of the latest solar news in your state. A fourth-generation farmer, he is the last in his family to farm. An aerial view of the 52-megawatt solar farm built by Silicon Ranch in Hazlehurst, Ga. The massive solar farm began feeding power to a substation across the road for distribution to Georgia Power Co. customers, said a spokesman with NextEra Energy, which is … Johnathon Kelso for NPR Hanwha Group We are first in your inbox with the most important news in the industry―keeping you smarter and one-step ahead in this ever-changing and competitive market. hide caption. In earlier times, Harris sold fertilizers and pesticides. The Solar Power Free Market Financing Act is considered an important victory for property rights supporters, as well as solar advocates – and represents a bellwether of change in Georgia. A water truck makes the rounds, spraying the ground with water to keep clouds of dirt from enveloping the workers when construction equipment rolls by. Ever cheaper and better solar technology, available land and lots … © 2020 Access Intelligence, LLC - All Rights Reserved. The factory was announced at the end of May 2018 and production began in January 2019. "There's no downside. Nathan Deal announced the plant in May 2018, four months after President Trump imposed a 30% tariff on solar panel imports. Ever cheaper and better solar technology, available land and lots of sunshine are driving demand for massive, utility-scale solar projects across the American Southeast. The plan is to send power to the grid by the end of 2019. We don't know what to expect down there. Don't see your company listed? First Solar said the project will use more than a half-million of the company’s advanced technology thin film solar modules. You can also view the average costs for installing solar in Georgia, based on real price data from installed systems and solar quotes. Silicon Ranch Georgia is one of 21 states that has not adopted a renewable portfolio standard for electricity production, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. However, with the solar projects coming online for Facebook, renewables will jump to somewhere between 15% and 20%, according to Greg Brooks, Walton EMC's community and public relations director. Going 'Zero Carbon' Is All The Rage. Additionally, Silicon Ranch is providing college scholarships for students who want to pursue a career in the solar industry. The transformation of his farm is happening quickly. He couldn't care less, he says, laughing: "I want it the cheapest.". The Odom Solar Farm is part of a portfolio of projects that will provide power to Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) as part of the utility’s agreement to supply 100% renewable energy for Facebook’s data center in Newton County, Georgia. This is just one sign that in Georgia, solar is booming. In a previous version of this story, Will Harris is quoted incorrectly as referring to "caring capacity." It employs tracker technology, which enables its more than 1 million thin-film PV solar modules to track the path of the sun to optimize production. Georgia Power has said it will develop projects from a Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI) for C&I customers, based on PPA contracts of 10 years to 30 years. Grazing in this way could prevent erosion and, down the road, potentially sequester carbon in the soil, as Harris has achieved on his own land. As word of the Facebook deal has gotten out, Brooks says, Walton EMC has gotten inquiries from other like-minded companies. Harris and Silicon Ranch are putting together a plan to rotate animal species around the solar farm, possibly cattle and sheep. Please contact or call 888-707-5814 (M – Th 9 am – 5:30 pm and F 9 am – 3 pm. They are not currently subject to tariffs, but they could be next year, when a quota on cell imports will likely be reached. A row of solar panels is installed at Silicon Ranch's latest project outside Blakely, Ga. “We are committed to working with the Georgia Public Service Commission to create programs, like REDI, that help grow renewable energy in Georgia and add value for all of our customers,” Wilson Mallard, director of renewable development for Georgia Power, said Wednesday in response to the First Solar announcement. Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Hanwha showed up in Dalton in early 2018, says Mayor Dennis Mock.

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