Sumter Co. residents speak on possible solar panel farm project

The topic of bringing a solar farm to Sumter County has been talked about for months.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 8:49 PM EST
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AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - A decision on whether or not to bring a solar farm to Sumter County is still up in the air

On Tuesday, county commissioners heard from those for and against the solar panels.

Commissioners are now going to take everything from the public comment, continue to do research and will reconvene on Tuesday, Nov. 21.

Residents for and against the solar panel showed up in great numbers to go before commissioners to share their insight on the potential solar farm

“That old solar company is planning to bring at least 500 manufacturing jobs to Americus,” David Ewing, an Americus resident said. “Don’t let them think that we don’t want solar.”

On the other end, Jenny Crisp disagrees with Ewing — saying it supplies no local jobs.

“All help is shipped in and it moves from job to job,” Crisp, a Sumter County farmer, said.

Joe Bostick, a Camilla resident who owns land in Sumter County, says he is pro-solar, but he’s also looking at everything from a property rights standpoint.

“If a man owns a piece of land, and he wants to put a solar project on it, and it meets the requirement of the county’s zoning, I think he should have the ability to do that,” Bostick said.

Justin Edge an attorney at an established firm in the Atlanta area, who also happens to be an American native, is representing families that live around Lake Corinth and Lake Philema where the solar panels would be built.

And he’s calling on commissioners to stand up for citizens of Sumter County as an attorney and native of Americus.

“Stand for your citizens. And for the voters who believe in you, who entrust in you to vote for the betterment of the community,” Edge said.

SA Solar has withdrawn two parcels, That’s due in part to hearing concerns from landowners during the planning and zoning meeting about converting residential parcels into agricultural parcels

Now even though the commission will reconvene on Nov. 21, Commission Chairman Mark Waddell says they aren’t exactly sure they will make a decision on that day.