07/06/12 — Solar energy companies plan projects in Mount Olive

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Solar energy companies plan projects in Mount Olive

By Kelly Corbett
Published in News on July 6, 2012 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Two solar farm companies are planning projects in the Mount Olive area, pending a change in the town code of ordinances to allow renewable energy.

A public hearing will be held at the Mount Olive town board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the town board room for a text amendment change to the ordinance. A decision is expected to be made by board members following the public hearing.

Solbridge Energy, LLC, based out of Charleston, S.C., signed a land lease with J.L. Jones in June for the land located on the corner of Harrell's Hill Road and N.C. 55.

Kent Trowbridge, managing partner, said the planned solar farm is a 2.3 megawatt direct current farm that will occupy a little more than 10 acres of land. The estimated $7 million project, on behalf of Solar 55, LLC, a branch of the main corporation, is projected to be completed by the end of the year.

"I'm looking at other sites in Mount Olive and the surrounding areas," Trowbridge said.

He said the process requires a number of steps, including approvals from Progress Energy and the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

Another solar farm company, Birdseye Renewable Energy, LLC, based out of Charlotte, signed a contract with First Baptist Church of Mount Olive, also in June.

Brian Bednar, president of Birdseye Renewable Energy, said the project is a promising one, but will likely have a 2013 start date.

He said generally he has received positive feedback and community support on his projects, and that it is a completely clean technology.