Construction progressing at Warrenton Solar Farm – The Warren Record: News
By Luci Weldon
Construction work is steadily progressing at the 40-acre, 5.5 megawatt Warrenton Solar Farm just outside the Warrenton city limits.
The solar farm, located on Highway 158 business across the road from Farm Bureau and Beckford Medical Center, is one of 11 projects being constructed this year by Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar.
While these sites are located in North Carolina, Strata Solar hopes to expand in the future with projects in other southeastern states, said Warrenton Site Superintendent Hugh Wheeler.
Strata Solar CEO Markus Wilhelm said that construction at the Warrenton Solar Farm, which began between four and six weeks ago, will involve the installation of up to 24,000 solar panels generating enough energy to power 600-700 homes.
Currently at the Warrenton site, workers are completing underground electrical wiring and installing posts and racks that will hold the raised solar panels. Wheeler anticipates that work to put the solar modules in place could begin as early as this week.
The entire construction process is expected to take about three months, with energy expected to start flowing in late December, Wilhelm said.
He described the project as environmentally friendly, noting that the posts on which the racks are mounted can be removed easily if the land reverts back to farming at some point in the future.
Strata Solar’s plans call for the energy generated by the solar farm to go back into the electrical grid. Through agreements with power companies serving the area, the energy generated will be used to provide power for local businesses and residences.
Among the people working on solar farm construction are 27 local residents who were hired at a job fair held this summer in Warren County. Wheeler estimated that between 40 and 70 people work at the Warrenton site each day.
Warren County Economic Development Director Gabe Cumming said that the $19 million solar farm project is expected to bring more to the county than solar energy and employment.
“The project is also valuable because it communicates that this is a community where economic development is taking place and where citizens are forward-moving with an interest in renewable energy,” he said.
Cumming described the work as being a major step toward helping Warren County become more self-sustaining through energy production.
“A good portion of the energy consumed here will be produced here,” he said. “We are taking responsibility for energy-production in a good, clean way.”
Strata Solar’s future plans suggest that the Warrenton Solar Farm could be one of several to be located in this area of North Carolina.