North Carolina’s latest solar power farm was officially opened last week, near Roxboro. It is located on a 5 acre facility in Person County Business and Industrial Center. Progress Energy has a two-year contract to purchase the energy generated from the solar farm.
The state’s newest solar farm has the capability of generating 650 kilowatts from its 3,240 photovoltaic panels. This is enough energy to power at least 60 homes. They estimate that around 837,000 kilowatt-hours will be produced in the first year alone. North Carolina is definitely serious in its efforts to switch to sustainable energy.
The solar power facility will be operated by the Carolina Solar Energy of Durham. It will be the most public solar facility in the state at present. People can view it from the U.S. 501.
When construction was underway, people thought that this area was just another vineyard because of the poles that could be seen being put up. (To view the construction photos of the Person County Solar Project, please visit the Carolina Solar Energy web site.)
The public are welcome to view the ground-mounted solar panels from afar. But BB&T, the bank that financed the solar project, required that the $4 million property be enclosed with barbed wires, in order to protect the expensive solar panels.
Carolina Solar Energy is also planning to launch a web site that will give real-time readouts to show how much energy is being generated by the solar power plant. Visitors to the site would also be able to check on the total power generated to date, and the amount of carbon dioxide emissions which have been reduced by using solar power – instead of Progress Energy’s coal power plants. The website will also use this data to inform Progress Energy clients of the amount of energy available to them.
What about the Sheep?
To further lessen environmental pollution, Progress Energy will use sheep to trim the grass on the property.
Their first use of a herd of sheep to maintain the grass was around a solar farm on the campus of software developer SAS, located in Cary. Sheep can move around the panels with ease without damaging them, and they don’t emit pollution.
The use of sheep does seem like a practical and environmentally-friendly approach to maintaining the solar power plant. It fits in with the overall goal of Carolina Solar Energy, to promote green technology and decrease emissions of pollution into the atmosphere.