Biggest Solar Farm in the East Coming to North Carolina

North Carolina will be home to the biggest solar PV farm in the eastern states when local solar developer Strata gets approval for a 100 megawatt (MW) plant.

Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar wants to start construction on the $250 million project late this year and complete it in 10 months. Located in Duplin County, it will cover 400 acres.

The four-year-old firm has been quickly ramping up projects, mostly smaller ones, but with the prospect of incentives being phased out, it’s getting into big projects.

Strata wants to do big projects to "further cut the cost of power as it looks to a potential future without the investment tax credit," says Blair Schooff, Vice President of Marketing and Sales. "We need to prepare ourselves. One of the ways to do that is to do one 100-MW project instead of 12 6.4-MW jobs. Each job, in isolation, has a lot of soft costs."

This year, 13 solar projects come online across North Carolina, built in partnership with Canadian Solar. Each is about 6.4 MW, for a total exceeding 80 MW. The first project will start producing power within weeks.

Here’s what 6.4 MW solar PV farm looks like:

Strata solar farm

Last year, Strata built 70 MW of solar projects there, including a 20 MW plant in Mount Olive. It’s also building a 1.1 MW solar PV array on Ikea’s rooftop in Charlotte.

For 2013, it’s planning another 140 MW across 25 solar projects. Two of those will be 20 MW plants in an unannounced adjoining state, and the company is also expanding to California. Strata has an equity stake in California installer Paramount Solar and Strata’s CEO Markus Wilhelm serves as chairman of the board.

Unfortunately, North Carolina is one of a handful of states that’s considering rolling back its Renewable Portfolio Standard, under ALEC’s model legislation, the Electricity Freedom Act. 

"We think the policy in place and enacted in North Carolina has been an excellent policy for catalyzing the industry," says Schooff. "We are actively growing jobs, and we are planning towards what has been on the horizon. We are hoping it stays that way."

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Comments on “Biggest Solar Farm in the East Coming to North Carolina”

  1. Enviro Equipment Inc.

    The problem with the so-called solar farms is that they can only exist with massive amounts of tax credits and/or government investment money. If they had to compete with fossil fuel burning power facilities, they wouldn’t exist at all… anywhere, even in areas like the desert Southwest which receives far more sunlight the North Carolina ever will.

    Reply
  2. Energy Incentives

    Why do renewable energy critics all ignore the massive amounts of incentives dumped on the fossil fuel industry? Maybe because they are so hidden. At least renewable incentives our visible.

    Reply
  3. Frank Read

    80 acres immediately available for a solar farm in Franklin County NC, one mile from Louisburg NC, a town which resells its electricity to its residents.

    Reply
  4. Seid

    We will make a solar car. Now collecting intiomafron about it. We want to know that what type of electricity we can produce from solar energy: ac,dc or both? So how we can use the produced electricity for our solar car? Thanks.

    Reply
  5. Larry G.

    I live in va.in the past 2 days i have passed 3 of these solar farms. I thought they were interesting until i saw how few homes it serves.

    Reply
  6. Donna

    I am interested in knowing more about the land in Louisburg NC and what else you have. Also, in the picture I didn’t see a power source for the panels where are the meters? Where do you get them?

    Reply
  7. gdub

    What people fail to understand is this simple concept. Yes solar farms take up large amounts of space/land. You know what happens when a Nuclear power plant fails, think Chernobyl, Fukishima. You know what happens when a solar power plant fails, NOTHING.

    Reply
  8. ROBERT L. COOPER

    92 ACRES IN WILSON COUNTY 2 MILES FROM TOWN OF SHARPSBURG, 24 ACRES IN NASH COUNTY INSIDE TOWN LIMITS OF WHITAKERS ACROSS FROM CONSOLIDATED DIESEL COMPANY 13 IN CITY OF ROCKY MOUNT AND 18 ACRES IN RURAL HALIFAX COUNTY 15 MILES FROM CITY OF ROANOKE RAPIDS. MAYBE INTERESTED IN SOLAR FARM(S) CONSTRUCTIONS .

    Reply
  9. Matt Boyd

    I want to know the name of the company that hires for the solar farms going up in Franklin County. Im about tired of their employees running through my work zones at high rates of speed and almost hitting me and my crew.

    Reply
  10. Randy

    Are there any new home communities using solar energy to power any part of their neighborhoods in North Carolina? I would be very interested in visiting them to find out more.

    Reply
  11. Jenny

    Looking for solar companies that work with local cooperative to possibly set up a solar farm on our farm property in Scotland County, NC

    Reply

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