02/22/13 — City hears solar farm pitch

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City hears solar farm pitch

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on February 22, 2013 1:46 PM

Goldsboro appears poised to join Mount Olive and Duplin County in welcoming solar energy farms after Strata Solar made its pitch at Monday's Goldsboro City Council meeting.

Representatives from the solar energy company spoke during a public hearing concerning a rezoning request for the project, which would mean the installation of 27,600 solar panels on 59 acres of property on the north side of Fedelon Trail between North William Street and Granville Drive.

Strata also has unveiled plans to bring a 400-acre solar farm to Duplin County and is developing another near Mount Olive. Birdseye Renewable Energies is currently constructing a solar farm on Bert Martin Road in Mount Olive while there are discussions about Solbridge Energy bringing another to the corner of Harrell's Hill Road and N.C. 55.

The rezoning request for the site in Goldsboro asks that the property, which is zoned General Business and I-2 Industrial, be rezoned to I-2 General Industry Conditional District.

Lance Williams, the site development manager for Strata, addressed the City Council concerning the request along with another member of the Strata team.

The site plan for the farm shows buffers along the property consisting of both large and small evergreen shrubs to screen off the property from view. The solar panels will be surrounded by a six-foot chain link fence with three strands of barbed wire running along its top.

Estimates indicate the farm should generate enough energy to power 700 houses per year.

No action from the City Council was necessary Monday night. The Planning Commission will discuss the request at its Feb. 25 meeting.

The commission will also consider conditional use permits for two beach bingo parlors and a zoning ordinance amendment concerning manufactured home regulations at its meeting. It will provide recommendations on those measures to the council at its March 4 meeting.