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Solar farm wins approval on site near Nashville


A company that has expressed interest in building a solar farm in Spring Hope last month was issued a conditional use permit to turn a cow pasture north of Nashville into a solar farm capable of producing five megawatts of power.

Nash County commissioners unanimously gave the go-ahead for the permit to Strata Solar, LLC to build a 40-acre solar farm on 54 acres owned by Will Clark Properties zoned A-1 agriculture on the east side of North N.C. 58 south of West Castalia Road.

Approval came after a detailed presentation by Strata Solar during the public hearing by the company’s manager of site development, Lance Williams; licensed engineer George Retschle; and licensed real estate appraiser Richard C. Kirkland supplemented by a detailed report.

The request was given unanimous endorsement of the county’s technical review committee and recommended by the Nash County Planning Board by a 5-2 vote.

Williams said after the hearing that he had approached Spring Hope Town Manager John Holpe about the possibility of building a solar farm on one of two area properties within and outside of Spring Hope.

But Williams said his first priority was to construct and put the new solar farm in operation before starting a new project.

Spring Hope would also have to amend the town’s zoning ordinance to allow solar farms in one or more of the different zones. The ordinance was drafted prior to the new development of solar farms.

Williams told the county commissioners the new solar farm would require $12-15 million worth of equipment and take two to three months to complete.

The site is surrounded by woods on three sites and is adjacent to five homes on N.C. 58. The solar farm will be fenced in along its perimeter, and after meeting the neighboring property owners Williams said additional vegetation buffers would be added. Access will be from a new driveway off N.C. 58.

“The solar farm will consist of fixed solar panels that generate no noise, no smell, and less traffic than one typical residential building,” Williams said.

Williams and the engineer both said the panels would be 10-feet high with rows of photovoltaic cells. Inverter equipment pads will be distributed throughout the facility. The power will be sold to Duke Progress Energy.

“The creation of solar energy is virtually silent,” Retschle testified. “The only sound is the quit hum of equipment converting and conveying electricity to the power grid during daylight hours.”

Kirkland testified that the farm “is in harmony with the area” and will not hurt adjacent property values.

via Solar farm wins approval on site near Nashville.