Number of Modules: 26,600
Developer: Strata Solar
Strata is excited to share Helen’s comments on her newly installed solar generation facility.
My brother and I have leased a solar farm, just outside Maxton, off of US 74 and Charlie Watts Road. Our experience with Strata, and with the town of Maxton, was very positive. We are delighted to be a part of bringing solar development to the area, and I want Laurinburg to be aware of what a marvelous opportunity this development offers.
We chose Strata Solar based on their reputation and the fact that they build projects that they develop. By all accounts, Strata is among the top solar contractors in the US – and they have brought the state of North Carolina up to be #4 in MW’s installed in 2012. Statewide, they have nearly 125 megawatts in farms installed and this year it plans to build over 20 farms in the state as well as start a 100 megawatt project in Duplin County.
We benefit by the lease of the land for the 20 to 30 years that the panels operate. The county benefits through the increased property tax revenue. The state benefits from taxes paid by the private investors. During construction each site requires about 150 workers for approximately four months, aiding the county in jobs, meals and some lodging. Subsidies are tax breaks/deductions. No money comes to the solar entity from the state or federal government.
A solar farm is a neighbor who is quiet, does not smell, poses no health problems, does not pollute air or water, does not affect farming next to it, and brings in money to the county. Strata is going out of its way to screen the site. Solar power has a proven track record. In use since the early ‘90’s, use, in the US and throughout the world, has grown exponentially since 2007. I could have put a pig farm or poultry farm on my land without having to seek any approvals for my land. It’s been proven that these entities reduce property values and the quality of life for those nearby.
The proposed site location on US 501 is fortuitous, as travelers will see that we are solar friendly, whether they are traveling north to south or east to west, as we already have a solar farm on US 74 bypass. People will see our solar farms and be aware of us as a community that is forward thinking, which can draw further development to the area.
Watts Farm produces approximately 9,600 MWh of electricity a year, which is the same amount of energy used by 750 average homes in North Carolina.
Construction took 14 weeks, beginning in May, 2012 and finished at the end of July. Watts Farm is part of Strata Solar’s Southern cluster of solar farms and was built by a crew of over 150 hired in the first quarter of 2012.
Over $250,000 in direct expenditures in Robeson County for wages, lodging and supplies. Increase in the property tax base of Robeson County of approximately $12 million with no requirement for additional school, sewers roads, or other county services.
No emission, no noise, no traffic associated with the operation of the solar farm. Each year, the solar farm will offset approximately 5155 tons of CO2 which is the same as reducing automobile travel by 8 million miles.