Firm eyes 50 acres for solar farm

Jan. 30, 2013 @ 05:44 PM

HelioSage Energy, a solar project development firm in Charlottesville, Va., has shown interest in placing solar farms in Vance and Granville counties.

Upper level management from HelioSage recently visited Vance County, explaining the proposed development procedure to Tommy Hester, chairman of the Vance County Board of Commissioners.

“They lease property and are looking at leasing around 50 acres of land and putting a solar farm on about 36 to 38 acres,” Hester said. “The difference of that land, 12 to 14 acres, is left as a buffer around the perimeter.”

A zoning ordinance that would add provisions to regulate and allow solar panels and solar farms within Vance County is currently pending approval from the board of commissioners.

The Vance County Department of Planning and Development, and the Henderson-Vance County Economic Development Commission have both made recommendations for approval of the ordinance, provided terms of a conditional use permit.

This option requires public notice, a public hearing, and an approval of the project by the board of adjustment prior to any development activities.

Granville County’s board of commissioners approved a similar special use permit in March of 2012, allowing Sun Edison, an international company designing solar arrays, to build a 24-acre, 1.9 megawatt photovoltaic solar array system between Oxford and Stovall.

Hester reached out to Granville County commissioners for further insight on their solar farm ordinance already in place.
“I reached out and I got it because I wanted to know what they had done, and how it had worked, and whether it was doing what they wanted it to do,” Hester said. “They have a solar farm that’s been in operation for 12 months.

“I’ve been there and viewed it and took pictures just to have some background information.”

An application for the establishment of a solar farm in Vance County is already pending with Carolina Solar Energy, the southeast’s leading provider of commercial photovoltaic solar systems.

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.