Spring Hope’s first solar farm now generating power
Open for business — With Rep. George Holding, wielding the scissors, the Nash 64 Solar Farm was officially opened on Thursday, Aug. 28. Also attending the ceremony were (from left): Betsy McCorkle, director of government affairs with the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association; Spring Hope Planning Board members Garfield Mills and Allen Barbee; Spring Hope Town Manager John Holpe Jr.; Rep. Holding; state senator Chad Barefoot; and Strata’s Blair Schooff.
Local officials, politicians, and dignitaries were on hand Thursday last week to formally open the Nash 64 solar farm just outside the Spring Hope’s eastern city limit.
“We’re very thankful to be welcomed to the community,” said Blair Schooff, vice president of marketing and sales for Strata Solar, LLC, a Chapel Hill-based company that has built the Nash 64 farm and more than 65 solar farms in the southeast over the last five years.
The solar farm, which has approximately 26,000 panels on the 30-acre site, will generate about 7,950 MWH each year. According to the Strata website, the farm provides electricity for 615 homes and will reduce carbon emissions by 4,269 tons each year.
In addition to the benefits to the environment, the solar farm on U.S. 64-Alternate provided between 80 and 100 jobs during its construction and will contribute to the Nash County tax base approximately $35,000-45,000 annually, said Schooff.
He also said that since Strata began building solar farms, North Carolina jumped from being ranked 14th in the nation to fourth in solar output.
U.S. Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., attended the formal opening Thursday morning.
“(Solar energy) is a critical part of the ‘all of the above’ energy strategy,” said Holding after looking over the farm’s sun collecting panels.
“It’s really neat to be here and see it in person,” he said.
Betsy McCorkle, director of government affairs with the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, also congratulated Strata on the completion of the farm and pointed out that nearly half of Strata’s solar farm projects have been built in Tier 1 counties, which are considered the state’s most economically disadvantaged.
The farm is currently generating power and connected to the Duke Energy grid.
Construction on the farm began in May and was completed in the last two weeks. According to the Strata website, more than $200,000 was spent on wages, lodging, and supplies during the construction.