3.5 MW AC | Bunn, NC | Commissioned Sept. 2012
BUNN, N.C. – Solar modules and grazing sheep, power lines and ewes and lambs, sustainable energy and sustainable agriculture are converging on a 46-acre field 30 miles east of Raleigh N.C. in the town of Bunn in Franklin County
The 4.5 Megawatt solar array, in Franklin County, was developed by North Carolina-based O2 Energies Inc. to create a dual use solar power plant and a working farm. This is the seventh solar farm that O2 energies will own and operate in North Carolina. On this solar farm, a 10th-generation farmer will raise free range sheep and lambs, and experiment with chickens, bees, and other agriculture.
O2 energies brought in Chad and Jodi Ray, 10th generation farmers, to manage the vegetation at the solar farm. The partners' ultimate goal is to create a model for future collaborative efforts that will marry solar-energy production and agriculture in rural sections of the southeastern United States.
Franklin County and the town of Bunn will benefit from an increase to the property-tax base from this multi-million dollar project. Additionally, during construction, more than 100 people living in and around Franklin County worked on the project, gaining relevant experience in the growing solar industry.
Bunn Mayor Marsha Strawbridge said. “The solar farm has been great for the town, bringing positive attention and serving as an educational tool.”
O2 energies selected PowerSecure Solar as the main contractor for the project. Headquartered just 20 minutes away in Wake Forest, this was the second large solar project the company constructed for O2 Energies this year.
Blair Kendall, PowerSecure Solar’s Director of Business Development, said, “We are excited to collaborate with O2 Energies on the Bunn solar farm. The series of projects that we have built and continue to build for O2 in Eastern North Carolina has allowed us to train and employ a local solar construction team which increases our capacity in this part of the state. This 4.5 Megawatts is a large project and created work at a time when our state needs it most.”
The electricity generated by Bunn Solar Farm is not only clean but it is also affordable. The solar farm will sell its electricity at a fixed rate which is competitive with the retail cost of power in the area.
Duke Energy will purchase the electricity which will flow onto the distribution circuit that supplies homes, businesses, farms and schools in the area. GreenCo Solutions, owned by 22 of North Carolina’s Electric Membership Cooperatives, will purchase the Renewable Energy Certificates generated by the solar farm to satisfy their requirements under the North Carolina Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.
“Thanks to Duke Energy and GreenCo Solutions, Franklin County has a new Solar Farm generating clean, affordable energy while creating new work opportunities for its citizens and a laboratory for energy and agriculture development.” said O2 energies’ President, Joel Olsen.
O2 Energies Inc. owns and operates the Bunn Solar Farm adding to the companies’ portfolio of solar farms in operation or under development in Surry, Nash, Avery, Robeson and other North Carolina counties.