DECATUR CO., GA (WALB) - The Decatur County Development Authority is waiting for state approval to begin a large solar panel project.
The nearly 1,000 acre solar energy facility has the potential to bring in close to $2 million a year in new tax revenue.
If the solar project is approved the 168 acres of county-owned land in the Industrial Park will be covered with solar panels.
But that's just the half of the two-part project.
Decatur county Development Authority Executive Director Rick McCaskill said, “Just north of the industrial park on private-land, almost 800 acres of private-land, there's an 80 megawatt facility. Which is huge. I've been told that's over a million solar panels on that one project alone.”
Tradewind Energy is the power development company that plans to build the project, while Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, will operate it.
Tradewind will pay full ad valorem taxes in the first year of operation.
McCaskill said, “Well, there's nothing for us to pay. They're basically coming here to make use of our sunshine.”
Based on current millage rates, the county has projected more than $1.7 million in new taxes will come in as a result of this project.
Decatur county Administrator Colonel Gary Breedlove said, “This reduces the pressure on the need to, or the consideration to, increase property taxes.”
McCaskill said Bainbridge is the perfect place for a solar panel project with its flat land and heavy sun exposure.
He said, “We anticipate it will create excitement with a lot of different companies that we're hoping are going to want to come here and take advantage of some of this energy.”
The Public Service Commission will decide if it will approve this $200 million project on December 15th.