Weekly Newspaper covering Marion, Schley, Chattahoochee, Webster, and Stewart Counties.
Marion County economy to get ray of sun
From the July 24, 2013 newspaper
By Richard Harris
It has been an awfully rainy summer, but a ray of sun is about to shine on the Marion County economy.
Inman Solar will soon build two solar farms on 30 acres of land just south of the Buena Vista City Limits (the Pineville Road/Firetower Road area). County commissioners opened the door for the development in their recent monthly meeting by rezoning the property from agricultural to commercial.
There were a number of reasons we chose Marion County for this project, said Ryan Sanders. The
Commission rezones land to allow Inman Solar to develop solar farms
area has good sun, the county is business friendly, and we work well with timber companies in the area.
Inman Solar purchased the land, which was recently cleared, from Mike L. Moon Enterprises. They hope to have the solar farm up by the end of August.
The solar company will pay annual taxes on the value of the solar panels, which will cover approximately 12 acres, but the company has declined to give an estimate of how much the equipment will cost.
We are still waiting on the Department of Treasury to evaluate and the county has never evaluated a solar farm before, so I do not want to give a figure at this time, said Sanders, who added, The only certainty is that it is a substantial development and it will generate meaningful tax revenue for Marion County.
That is actually not the only certainty. Inman Solar has already signed a 20-year contract to sell solar power to Georgia Power, so they should be around for at least a couple of decades.
Local officials say that is a very good thing.
We are very happy Inman chose Marion County for this development, said Commission Chairman George Neal. This project is on the cutting edge of the latest in solar technology. We need more projects like this one that will add to our local economy. A big advantage to this kind of project is that it does not pull on local resources but provides an economic boost to the local economy. It certainly feels good to have had a couple of economic development announcements in the past several months and we will continue to be open to projects that are environmentally safe and that add to the local economy.
The two 1-megawatt solar farms in Marion County are two of four such farms that Inman Solar is currently building to help Georgia Power reach its solar goals. Their other two will be in Polk County, where they have already broken ground.
The projects are part of Georgia Powers newly created Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI) and are among the first of 34 megawatts that Georgia Power will add to its portfolio of distributed generation in 2013. Distributed generation is a term applied to smaller, geographically dispersed power plants, often associated with solar and other renewable energy resources.
Georgia Power was recently ordered by the Georgia Public Service Commission to obtain 525 megawatts of solar power for its operations by 2016, which is one of the largest (if not the largest) solar projects in the United States.
Unlike many prolific solar markets across the U.S., Georgia Powers ASI program established a cost-competitive solar price point that is designed to avoid putting upward pressure on Georgia’s utility rates. Under the Georgia Power ASI, the private solar industry enjoys the flexibility to meet the price point with market-based solutions that do not rely on state incentives. Dan Fossit, president of Inman Solar, said he is excited about the opportunities this carefully crafted program is creating.
The Georgia Power ASI provides a great benefit to Georgia’s overall economy and has helped us build a nationally competitive solar company that puts Georgians to work and generates economically responsible clean energy and tax revenues for the State, Fossit said.
Inman Solar has built an impressive portfolio of solar installations across the U.S. That experience gives Inman an advantage in the local market, which affords them stability and acumen to insure the delivery of high quality solar assets to the state’s energy mix. Ervan Hancock, Georgia Powers Director of Alternative Energy, said Inman’s professional depth makes the company an ideal partner for ASI development.
Inman Solar has proven itself to be one of the most capable Georgia-based developers and EPCs, Hancock said. They are positioned well to be a part of Georgia Powers expanding solar appetite and we look forward to working with them again in the future.
Joel Rearden, a Georgia Power solar project manager, understands the practical challenges of integrating a new power generating facility into the Georgia energy grid and commended Inmans success on the job site.
This is only Georgia Powers second foray into a large-scale solar RFP. It is a complex initiative with a lot of moving pieces, Rearden said. Inman has brought a high level of solar expertise and professionalism to these projects, which has allowed for an extremely smooth integration process.
Inman is currently preparing for Georgias newly expanded solar initiative and looks forward to continuing its successful collaboration with Georgia Power to the benefit of the GA ratepayer, the economy, and the environment.
About Inman Solar: Based in Atlanta, Inman Solar is a NABCEP certified installer of solar photovoltaic systems that develops, designs, and installs commercial and utility scale solar projects with experience throughout the solar project cycle. By combining in-house engineering, financial structuring, and system integration, Inman provides a turnkey solar solution that drives investment returns and insures the quality of installation. The Inman Solar team has a demonstrated track record of delivering projects on budget and on time.