Massive solar farm in east Dougherty County goes online

In southwest Georgia, the unemployment rate dropped 0.1% in October, settling at 3.5%. A year ago, the rate was 4.3%.

ALBANY — The power of the sun was unleashed this week in Dougherty County at a solar facility on Moultrie Road, as the system that has been under construction for months went online.

The massive solar farm began feeding power to a substation across the road for distribution to Georgia Power Co. customers, said a spokesman with NextEra Energy, which is in charge of construction.

“We’re finishing up commission of the inverters, trackers and SCADA (solar supervisory control and data acquisition),” he said.

That work should be completed soon, putting the construction time for the project at about a year.

The 1,200-acre site contains 5,232 rows of support beams for 440,535 solar panels. The panels will rotate through the day to track the sun.

NextEra is constructing a similar facility in Brooks County.

Those projects, along with others in the area, including Mitchell County, are part of Georgia Power Co.’s 177-megawatt Commercial & Industrial Renewable Energy Development Initiative. The plan was announced in April 2018.

The plant near Albany is part of that initiative and will supply 120 megawatts, while one under construction in Mitchell County will provide about 57.5 megawatts of electricity.

The $300 million Dougherty County facility is expected to provide about $10 million in tax revenue over its lifespan.

“We’re pleased to develop this project and advance solar as a part of Georgia Power’s renewable energy development initiative for their commercial and industrial customers,” NextEra spokesperson Lisa Paul said.

The Southern Oak solar development that is under construction is expected to pump $12 million into Mitchell County’s economy in the first 10 years of operation, including tax payments, lease payments to landowners, and wages and benefits to employees.

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