More solar panel projects in development for Decatur County

Published 6:49 pm Friday, March 18, 2016

The abundant sunshine and available land in Decatur County could result in two additional solar panel projects in the county.

During Thursday’s Development Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County Board of Directors’ meeting, Executive Director Rick McCaskill informed the board that solar companies have reached agreements with private landowners to lease land to potentially locate two 1,700-acre solar farms.

The projects would still have to be selected via a bid process with Georgia Power, but McCaskill said he was optimistic that these potential projects are in position to be chosen. If chosen, one of the projects would become operational in December 2017 and the other in December 2018.

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“These are good sites with good operators who will put together very competitive bids,” McCaskill said.

There are currently two solar farms operating in the county. The first, located adjacent to the Decatur County Airport, is roughly 175-acres. Located off Brinson Airbase Road, the second project encompasses roughly 800 acres. Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company which is an affiliate of Georgia Power, operates both solar farms.

Currently, the 800-acre site is the largest solar farm east of the Mississippi River, although another 1000-acre solar farm is under construction in Maryland.

McCaskill also indicated that he is working with a company that acquires and ships cottonseed to be used in the dairy feed industry.

“We are a good location for this company because we have the cottonseed and we have the available rail in the county industrial park, particularly with the Choice Terminal that we are currently working” McCaskill said.