Innovative Solar Systems (ISS), which develops large-scale solar farm projects and is based in Asheville, North Carolina, has recently received approvals on a 35 MW solar farm to be built in Maxton, North Carolina. This state-of-the-art solar project will incorporate 120,000 PV panels on almost 200 acres of farmland, which is increasingly being used for solar these days.
The benefits of this project to the community include the addition of jobs and tax base to Robeson County. The solar energy plant will provide enough clean electricity to power about 10,000 homes in the area. Construction will begin as soon as the contracts are signed with the buyer.
John Green, CEO of ISS, states that this solar farm will employ some of the most sophisticated string inverters currently approved for utility-scale solar farm operation. He adds that this project will be one of the company’s showcase plants when completed. ISS has several projects that are being sold to solar panel manufacturing companies, and they look to do the same with this one. Additionally, many solar panel companies are providing the financing for solar farms if the company’s panels are ultimately used on the project. It works out well for producers of large volumes of solar panels to have a home for their panels.
ISS has grown to become one of the largest developers of solar farm projects in the United States, with approximately 1GW of solar projects to be built in North Carolina over the 2014 and 2015 calendar years, and over 500 MW planned for Georgia. ISS is currently developing renewable energy projects in six other states where incentives are the most promising.
An interesting note is that, according to ISS, most investors require a minimum threshold of around $50,000,000 for renewable energy investments, and thus 35 MW projects fit this bill nicely. It makes sense then that Green states that most buyer inquiries at his company involve needs by buyers for 35 MW size solar farm projects or larger. “The entire economics for renewable energy just work better when you are dealing with larger projects,” states Green.
While these utility-scale projects are great news, I for one still hope North Carolina’s residential solar follows suit in becoming more accepted and adopted.