The Daily Tar Heel :: Solar farm comes to Orange County
Though Orange County homeowners might not notice a difference, their power is now coming from a much cleaner energy source.
Solar energy provider Strata Solar completed construction of a solar farm in Chapel Hill’s White Cross community two weeks ago.
The solar farm is on 35 acres and will generate enough electricity to power approximately 600 to 800 homes a year. The energy generated by the farm will be distributed to Duke Energy customers.
The Chapel Hill-based provider develops and maintains solar energy farms and solar panels on businesses around the country. Only one business in the county, Chapel Hill Tire Care Center, has solar panels from the company.
Orange County Economic Development Director Steve Brantley said the county is already eco-friendly, but the addition demonstrates its ambition to become environmentally aware.
“The county has a desire to diversify, whether it is solar, wind or biodiesel,” he said. “The farm is a renewable energy operation that will be around for around 50 years, providing electricity through non-fossil fuel resources.”
John Morrison, Strata Solar’s chief operating officer, said the solar farm has started producing energy, but people in the county will not notice its effect.
“It should lower the cost in the long term, but in the short term it should not do anything,” he said in an interview.
Orange County Commissioner Renee Price said the county needs to save energy and money, so the new farm is a great addition.
“Anywhere you live, if you can save energy and save money, it is an advantage, so I think that it is a great thing that Strata Solar is in Orange County,” Price said.
Morrison said he is excited to have this new farm in the county and wants to bring more solar farms in the future.
“If we can find good locations for another farm, then I absolutely want to have more farms,” he said. “It is a great deal. It is like bringing in a new factory, but no new roads or sewage lines need to be made.”
Earl McKee, vice chairman of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, said having the solar farm is great for the county’s image.
“The sun is an inexhaustible supply for energy, so we should look to extract that for years to come,” McKee said. “All forms of alternative energy should be looked at, and we should look at companies that want to use alternative forms of energy.”
Price said Strata Solar’s clean energy is a huge benefit to the County.
“I’m very pleased with solar energy coming here,” Price said. “I believe it is the future to harness all of the energy of the sun.”