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County OKs solar farm

POSTED: April 28, 2014 8:30 p.m.

Effingham County commissioners have given their initial approval to a large solar farm off Lowground and McCall roads.

Commissioners voted unanimously to rezone more than 287 acres of land, where Gregory Electric hopes to install a large solar farm.

“Georgia Power has a program for solar farms where they will buy the power back,” said zoning director George Shaw.

The tract had been zoned planned development and currently is growing timber. A solar farm is an acceptable conditional use under AR-1 zoning. The land is owned by Suetian Enterprises, Coastal Savannah Properties and the Christian family.

The entire tract won’t be turned into a solar farm, Shaw said, because there are considerable wetlands on the property.

Commissioners also approved a buffer for the property, with 60 feet on the Lowground Road side and 100 feet on the McCall Road side.

“We wouldn’t mind putting in vegetation,” Todd Delello of Gregory Electric, which is building the solar project. “It’s going to be hard to see.”

There also is only a difference in three feet of elevation across the tract.

“The land is pretty flat,” Delello said.

The expected load for the solar array is 16 megawatts of AC and 21 megawatts of DC.

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