Early County "Flips the Switch" on new solar farm

(WTVY News 4)
Published: Dec. 12, 2019 at 9:33 PM CST
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Early County has started profiting from sunny days. The county has flipped the switch and turned on a brand new solar farm.

More than 355,000 solar modules are now gathering renewable energy in Early County.

Silicon Ranch has recently turned on the Bancroft Station Solar Farm, located 7.5 miles Northeast of Blakely.

Silicon Ranch's solar farm will power Walton EMC and Facebook's databases.

Early County Commission Chairman June Merritt is hoping it will provide some 'power' to Early County's economy.

"This facility will actually touch every land owner in the county because it will help us keep ad valorem taxes down,” said Merritt.

The Early County school system will use the additional tax revenue to establish a career academy, and the county commission will use the tax revenue to increase public works employee salaries.

"Those public works employees are the lowest paid and hardest working, probably, in county government,” said Merritt.

The panels were all built in Georgia and use a tracking system to get optimal sunlight even on a cloudy day.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect about this solar farm is that the grass underneath the panels isn't going to be mowed, it's going to be sheep.

"There's going to be over a thousand sheep here strategically grazed to help us take care of vegetation and help improve the quality of our soil,” said Silicon Ranch CEO Reagan Farr.

Silicon Ranch has used sheep with other solar farms successfully according to Farr, and will have Will Harris of White Oak Pastures overseeing that aspect of the project.

The 355,000 modules have more than 104 megawatts of electricity.

"I you think about one megawatt powers around 400 homes, so it could power a whole community," said Farr.

While Silicon Ranch held the “Flip the Switch” ceremony Thursday afternoon, but the modules have already been on for almost three weeks.