At Cloverly, we can help offset or avoid the carbon costs of everyday activities. (You can find details here.) To do that, we invest in a variety of green projects. Here's a look at one of the Renewable Energy Credits projects in our portfolio, the Decatur County Solar Facility in Georgia.
Decatur County, Georgia, has become something of a solar power center. Two solar farms there, the Decatur Parkway Solar Facility and the Decatur County Solar Facility, have a combined capacity of 103 megawatts.
Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, owns both installations. Cloverly's portfolio includes Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from the smaller one, the 19 megawatt Decatur County Solar Facility.
Both farms turn their panels toward the sun at the Decatur County Industrial Air Park, built in 1942 as Bainbridge Army Airfield, a World War II pilot training facility. The farms cover 980 acres between them and contain more than a million solar panels.
The county loves them.
"All the equipment out here is taxable property, so they're more than twice as large as the number two taxpayer in the county," said Rick McCaskill, executive director of the Development Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County. "And all they're doing is using our sunshine, so it's a really good deal."
McCaskill was quoted in an interview by WTXL, a TV station in Tallahassee, Florida. Decatur County is a few minutes north of Tallahassee, in the southwest corner of Georgia. It's mostly rural, with a lot of farms and pine trees. The population is about 26,600, spread over 623 square miles. Of those residents, about 12,100 live in Bainbridge, the county seat and largest city.
Solar power has been a growth industry in Georgia and elsewhere in the Southeast. In February, Hanwha Q Cells opened a $150 million solar panel assembly plant at Dalton, in the state's northwest corner. The company is based in Seoul, South Korea.
"Ever cheaper and better solar technology, available land, and lots of sunshine are driving demand for massive, utility-scale solar projects across the American Southeast," said NPR in a June 2019 story.
Scott Moskowitz, director of strategy and market intelligence for Hanwha Q Cells America, told NPR, "This is the largest region for solar installations in the next five years." The Dalton plant runs around the clock and turns out 10,000 solar panels a day.
The 169-acre Decatur County Solar Facility began generating power in December 2015. Its panels swivel to track the sun, maximizing efficiency.
"Southern Power's strategic investment in the Decatur solar projects will help meet Georgia's growing energy needs," said Southern Company Chairman, President, and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. Fanning was quoted in a Southern Company news release when Southern Power bought the projects in 2015.
"These projects and others are enhancing Georgia's position as a national leader in renewable energy."