y Outer Banks Voice on June 8, 2014
Construction of the first solar energy plant in Currituck County has been given the green light by the Board of Commissioners.
The solar farm is planned for about 225 acres along N.C. 34 across from Shawboro Elementary School. It could be online sometime next year and generate enough power for 1,900 homes, according to the company proposing the project.
Ecoplexus, which is based in San Francisco, submitted a plan that calls for about 86,400 300-watt panels attached in rows to metal racks.
Ecoplexus specializes in solar energy and says it has projects worldwide.
In its application for a use permit in Currituck County, Ecoplexus said it is looking at fixed panels or possibly a “single-axis” tracking system, where panels rotate east to west to follow the sun through the day.
A fixed system would need about 110 acres, while the single-axis system would fill almost the entire tract to allow rotating space between the panels. The decision will be based on whether wetlands or unbuildable areas are found on the tract, the company said.
Electricity will be sold to Dominion Power. Inverters on site will convert energy from direct current to alternating current.
A transformer will then boost the wattage to Dominion standards, and electricity will be sent onto the grid at an onsite power pole.
“Once the power from the facility enters the distribution system, it will flow freely to the nearest entity using power at the time,” the application said.
The company said a Federal Aviation Administration study found that the panels produce less glare than asphalt by absorbing energy and diffusing light. Reflections appear hazy compared to regular glass, the company said.
The permit also calls for fencing and buffering.