Strata Solar holds ribbon cutting at solar farm – The Warren Record
By Luci Weldon
A number of local residents joined Strata Solar officials on Monday afternoon to celebrate the official ribbon cutting ceremony for its 5.6 megawatt Warrenton Solar Farm, located just outside the town limits.
The 40-acre solar farm is located on Highway 158 business across the road from Farm Bureau and Beckford Medical Center.
Among those attending the ceremony were Warren County and Warrenton officials, local high school students and several area residents.
John Morrison, chief operating officer of the Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar, said that the Warrenton project was one of 12 solar farms that the company completed in 2012. The local work was finished in November, and energy has been generating since around the end of the year.
Morrison said that of the 100 workers who helped install the solar panels, wiring and other components needed at the local site, many were hired locally. Some are now working on Strata Solar projects in other areas of the state.
He said that the Warrenton Solar Farm contains about 25,000 solar panels, each of which generates 250 watts of energy.
Among those attending were students in the Earth and Environmental Science class at Warren New Tech High School. Two ninth-grade class members, Claudia White and Adam Henderson, described themselves as lifelong Warren County residents who were excited to see the development of “green energy” resources here.
White said that the project provides a bright outlook for the community’s future.
“We have come together to bring a brighter, clean energy source,” she said. “We are leaders of a brighter future.”
Henderson praised the community for moving toward alternative sources of energy to cut back on pollution.
“Warrenton is trying to protect the Earth,” he said. “We want to see Warrenton go clean with non-polluting fuels.”
Jennifer Jordan, vice chairwoman of the Warren County Board of Commissioners, describe Warrenton Solar Farm as a “boost to the community.”
“We appreciate all that Strata Solar has done,” she said. “(The solar farm) is a green alternative to producing energy.”
Gabe Cumming, Warren County Economic Development director, called the solar farm “the latest edition to Warren County’s green economy.”
“People have used the green economy as the basis of their livelihood for generations through farming,” he said. “The new technology for the county is much in keeping with (this history.”
He described Strata Solar’s project here as both an economic and civic investment in the county.
J.B. Davis, whose family previously owned the property where the solar farm is located, said that his father raised grain and cattle on the property. He added that while his father wouldn’t have imagined that solar panels would one day be placed on the family land, he would have been proud of the solar farm.
Cumming said that in 2014, solar panels are expected to be installed in five locations in Warren County and should produce enough energy to power 2,100 homes.
“A number of local property owners are seeing the potential of their land,” he said.