Stephens Co. Celebrates Solar Panel Farm

solar panelsThe community comes together to celebrate Stephens County’s new solar panel farm.

Local officials gathered at the solar panel farm on Turner Road Tuesday for a commissioning ceremony.

United Renewable Energy of Alpharetta operates the solar panels and leases the land on which the solar panels are located from the Stephens County Development Authority.

The project is part of a Georgia Power solar energy initative and power created by the solar panels goes into the Georgia Power grid.

Georgia Power Vice President of Renewable Development Norrie McKenzie said the solar panels help provide clean, affordable energy to its customers.

“That is our obligation to deliver those to you,” said McKenzie. “Unlike a lot of states in the nation, we are adding solar in a program that does not put upward pressure on our rates.”

Through its solar initiative, Georgia Power hopes to have 800 megawatts of solar power online by the end of 2016.

The solar panels installed on Turner Road produce .7 megawatts of energy. That is enough to power about 70 homes.

However, more solar panels appear to be on the way to Stephens County.

Stephens County Development Authority Executive Director Tim Martin said that Georgia Power has awarded more solar panels for the Turner Road site.

Martin said they are excited to add more solar panels to the site.

“We want to fill all 30 acres (of the site),” said Martin.

In addition, Georgia Power approved an application submitted proposing to install a similar solar panel project on the roof of Stephens County High School.

However, that project will require Board of Education final approval and successful completion of a number of other steps for it to move forward.