AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Sumter County commissioners agreed to move forward with a nearly 10,000-acre solar farm Tuesday, amid strong debate about the project. Some spoke for the proposal, while others were against it.
This was just the first phase and commissioners said there is still a long way to go in this process.
“We are going to try to make sure it gets done right,” said Commissioner Clay Jones.
There wasn’t an empty seat at Tuesday night’s meeting.
“This should put Sumter County on track to become the envy of rural Georgia,” said a man who is for the project.
“It will permanently alter the landscape of a very large section of Sumter County in a negative way,” said a woman who is against it.
One man told commissioners he thinks there are still some unanswered questions.
“It feels to me like we don’t have the known facts as to what exactly what and how this is going to be done,” said one man.
A spokesman from Americus Solar LLC admits to not having a final layout, which he said is a challenge for them.
“But this is just one step in the process. We’ve been here for two and a half years, we will be here for longer. We intend to bid into the Georgia RFP. Once we get the final agreement with Georgia Power, we will know the size and we will go through the building permit process,” said Matt Leving, the Americus Solar LLC senior manager for development.
Amid those concerns, commissioners voted unanimously on all eight parcels of the project.
“Solar company has to go through the zoning ordinance, and they’re real strict,” said Jones.
Commissioners said they did it with the residents in mind.
“The decision we made tonight, we’re just letting you know we take it very seriously, this is your residence, this is your livelihood and we are taking it seriously,” said Jones.