McDuffie County officials consider 2,000-acre solar farm

Increased tax revenue, jobs and cleaner energy could all be in the future for McDuffie County.
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 5:55 PM EST
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THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - McDuffie County could be getting a field of solar panels known as a solar farm.

Increased tax revenue, jobs and cleaner energy could all be in the future if county commissioners approve the $320 million proposed solar farm along Randall Hunt Road.

The project is one of two clean energy projects making news Wednesday in Georgia. The other is a $2 billion investment in solar panel manufacturing that will create 2,500 jobs in North Georgia.

Both plans come after passage of a climate change bill signed into law in August. The law will direct spending, tax credits and loans to bolster solar panels, home energy efficiency, emission reductions for coal- and gas-powered power plants, and air pollution controls for farms, ports and low-income communities.

The McDuffie County solar farm would cover nearly 2,000 acres, but wouldn’t be visible from Interstate 20.

Representatives with the developer say it’s much more than a one-time project for them.

“It is our intention to be good stewards of the community from the development stage through the lifetime of the project, by engaging with community leaders” and participating in sponsorships, said Stephanie Miller EDF Renewables.

Jason Smith with McDuffie County says it’s important for the county to partner with companies that will put the community first.

He said what’s important is “that symbiotic relationship that you have with a company like that shows that, you know, they want to become more than a business in this community, they want to become a part of the community.”

Developer Telly Manos says while the solar farm is the company’s focus right now, it hopes to have a bigger impact in the long term.

“The long-term impact is well, the two to four on-site personnel to be maintaining that facility, and then increase job opportunity for local services,” Manos said.

If the proposal is approved, the next step for the developer is to find a buyer for the electricity. Georgia Power is the main target, but if not, the developers are considering a private buyer.