Solar farm great opportunity for our county

Published 7:42 am Friday, November 30, 2012

We were very pleased Tuesday, as the Decatur County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a contract for an energy company to construct a “solar farm” on land near the county’s airport.

Tradewind Energy, of Lenexa, Kan., plans to build a collection of sunlight-collecting arrays on at least 100 acres of land, but possibly 200 or more. These arrays will collect energy from the sun, and convert it into electricity that can be sold to Georgia Power or similar utilities. The solar farm will be built on land that is unsuitable for general use, due to its proximity to the airport — buildings must be less than 10 feet tall on such land, and the arrays are only 8 feet tall.

Although the solar farm won’t bring in a large number of additional jobs, it will put a large amount of land back on the tax rolls. In addition, the construction of the arrays will lead to additional property tax revenues — it is estimated that Tradewind will pay $417,000 a year to the county, or about “half a mill.” With the county still in a budget crisis, any additional revenue is a very good thing.

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This is truly a “win-win” for both parties involved, and we applaud the Board of Commissioners for their progressive action. We also appreciate the Development Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County for their hard work in researching the company, negotiating with the company, and ultimately bringing their business here.