Gordon County received notice from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority today that the county has been awarded $300,000 in federal grant funds to construct a solar farm at the old Harris Beamer Landfill, said County Administrator Randy Dowling.
Sentinx LLC, a consultant group that assists municipalities in “going green,” approached the county Board of Commissioners with the project earlier this year.
“We identified Harris Beamer as a place to implement a solar farm. And we identified Gordon County as an area that could use grant funds to facilitate that program,” Jeff Stubbs, senior project manager for Sentinx told the Calhoun Times last month.
According to County Administrator, Randy Dowling, the company chose Gordon County because of its location and the fact that the county already owns the Harris-Beamer landfill.
Sentinx assisted the county in applying for federal stimulus dollars to fund part of the project.
“Sentinx did all the research and grant writing for free,” said Dowling.
Gordon County was among several counties who were awarded funds to improve or create energy efficient programs.
Dowling said the next step in the process would be the completion of the Environmental Protection Division application.
“The EPD permits are the biggest problem,” Dowling said. “That could take two to three months.”
Once that process is complete, Sentinx will begin seeking investors to complete the rest of the project.
Stubbs declined to give details on potential investors or the full cost of the project itself.
“We have a few considering, and they are pretty excited,” Stubbs said.
The solar farm would begin at 40 kilowatts, and eventually grow to two megawatts, he said.
The county would already have a built in client once the solar farm “hit the grid.” By law, North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation is required to purchase any electricity produced within their region.
According to Laura Sparks, director of marketing and communications for NGEMC, the company would purchase the energy, up to one megawatt worth, for $.12 above the retail rate.
Sparks told the Calhoun Times last month that the solar farm would initially power only four homes. However, if the grid moves to a larger megawatt format, it would power more homes. One megawatt would power about 100 homes.
Dowling said the county could stand to receive $10,000 - $12,000 annually from the sale of energy.
The city of Calhoun also received nearly $300,000 in grant funding through the same energy efficiency conservation block grant funding that will allow for lighting retrofitting at Calhoun High School and will contribute funding toward a city revolving loan fund for residential energy efficiency projects. Energy code training for city staff will also be provided for in the funding.