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Augusta Commission approves re-zoning for two new solar farms

(KOLO)
Published: Aug. 16, 2016 at 8:05 PM EDT
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News 12 NBC 26 @ 11 o'clock / Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Augusta commissioners agreed on rezoning for two more solar farms.

"On the agenda today was special exceptions for zoning, everything else, contracts and everything has already been approved and implemented," Director of Environmental Services Mark Johnson said.

Inman Solar previously won the bid to build three solar farms in the area as part of a Georgia Power solar project. On Tuesday the final step was approving special exemptions for zoning them. But commissioners also had questions about who's responsible for building the solar panels.

"What are we on the hook for? Because I'm not voting for that unless someone tells me what we're on the hook about," Commissioner Marion Williams asked.

"The question was if they're not built by December 31st who's responsible? And that's Inman solar," Johnson said.

Inman builds the panels and they're responsible for them. The unmanned solar farms will be built on at the Water Treatment Plant on Tobacco Road and at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center on Phinizy Road. In the end Augusta gets a cut of the profit.

"It will generate for Augusta $20,000 per site per year and it's all on land that we otherwise would not be using," Johnson said.

For Commissioner Grady Smith, and seven other commissioners who voted yes, it was an easy decision.

"That's just good business. Instead of someone on this commission getting in the middle of it and gumming up the works, let the experts handle it," Commissioner Smith said.

Growing the economy and growing new energy.