Ga. Power to construct a thousand acres of solar panels in Decatur County

Published 6:50 pm Friday, October 17, 2014

The Development Authority of Bainbridge-Decatur County has signed two deals with Georgia Power to build two facilities—80-megawatts and 20-megawatts of utility scale solar power—in the vicinity of the Decatur County Airport.

The two locations are expected to be operational by December 2015, Development Authority Executive Director Rick McCaskill said.

The 20-megawatt location is part of a 20-year deal with Decatur Parkway Solar Project LLC and will span 165 acres on county property located south of the airport. The 80-megawatt location is a 25-year deal with the same company and will be built north of Brinson Air Base Road.

“It’s going to make us look very progressive to have a thousand acres in the county of solar panels,” McCaskill said, noting potential Decatur County businesses will be greeted by rows of solar panels when they fly into the airport.

“Combined with the excitement coming out of the Meredian—them being green, this being green—I think we have a window to step back and say, ‘Who else in the green industry do we need to go after?’”

Another benefit of having the project in Decatur County is the amount of money it will add to the county’s tax rolls, a number McCaskill said could reach up to $140 million from the two combined facilities.

On the flip side, the project won’t be creating very many jobs. McCaskill still considers the deal a “homerun” on the investment side.

“The nice thing about that is most times when you bring something in that puts that much on tax rolls, they use up your roads, they use up your hospital and they use up your schools. It taxes all these other services,” McCaskill said. “This isn’t going to tax them. That’s going to be a huge boost to us and really help out the local taxpayer.”

McCaskill said he pictured Decatur County as becoming a “green” niche because there is potential for so many people to latch on to the movement.