Ask Us: Where have solar farms been approved by county?
Published 12:10 am Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SALISBURY — County government officials have OK’d 12 solar farms since the facilities first started appearing in Rowan.
The county’s approved plans place solar panels on about 389 acres (0.61 miles) of land in the county, which excludes any facilities inside of a city’s or town’s limits. While some parcels of land containing the solar farms measure 100 acres or more, space leased for the panels is usually smaller.
A reader asked about the stock of solar farms in the county following a controversial discussion about a 574-acre facility in the Gold Hill area. Last month, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners turned down a request for the facility by Birdseye Renewable Energy.
The earliest solar farm in Rowan County received a conditional use permit in April 2013 and a building permit in September 2014. The most recent received its conditional use permit in August 2019 and a building permit in August of this year.
The approved facilities in the county include:
• Rockwell Solar, approved in April 2013, in the 3500 block of Earnhardt Road. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on 21 acres of land.
• Buddy Solar, approved in June 2013, in the 400 block of St. Peters Church Road in Gold Hill. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on 16.77 acres of land.
• Nate Solar, approved in October 2013, in the 1000 block of Cruise Road in Salisbury. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on 27.71 acres of land.
• Redmond Solar, approved in February 2014, in the 1100 block of Redmond Road in Cleveland. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on 15.56 acres of land.
• Statesville Solar, approved in January 2015, near the intersection of Statesville Boulevard and Old U.S. 70 in Cleveland. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on 63.31 acres of land.
• Woodleaf Solar, approved in September 2015 and amended in September 2017, in the 6200 block of N.C. 801 in Woodleaf. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on 41.32 acres of land.
• Organ Church Solar, approved in January 2016, in the 2400 block of Organ Church Road in Rockwell. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on 40.5 acres of land.
• Salisbury Solar, approved in March 2016, in the 2300 block of Dunns Mountain Road. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on 36.1 acres of land.
• Catawba and Rowan Solar, approved in April 2016, in the 100 block of Furniture Drive in Salisbury. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on about 15 acres of land.
• Bear Poplar Solar, approved in September 2016, in the 2100 block of Graham Road in Mt. Ulla. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on about 37.6 acres of land.
• John Rainey Road, approved in July 2017, in the 400 block of John Rainey Road in Salisbury. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on about 4.3 acres of land.
• Saw Solar, approved in August 2019, in the 1000 block of Saw Road in China Grove. Plans for the facility placed solar panels on 50 acres of land.
Shane Stewart, assistant county planning director, said the county-approved facilities do not include at least four sites in municipal jurisdictions — on North U.S. 29 and Mooresville Road in Salisbury as well as on Sides Road in Rockwell. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College also has a solar array covering about 6 acres on its Salisbury campus.
Of the county-approved facilities, two of the 12 were not constructed — Buddy Solar and Bear Poplar Solar. The Saw Solar facility is under construction. The John Rainey Road solar farm is complete, but it’s not generating power, Stewart said.
County estimates pegged the approved plans’ power output at about 56 megawatts, but some of the final numbers ended up lower or higher than initial projections.