Posted by & filed under Outer Banks Activity, Outer Banks History, Outer Banks News.

 on June 8, 2014

solar

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.

The project, which was also endorsed by the Planning Board, is considered a low impact use of the land. Other than a storage shed for parts, nothing else will be built on the property, whose owner lives in Virginia Beach. It is currently active farmland.

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.

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