January 30, 2011 - Blairsville Solar Farm is largest in Georgia
By Janice Boling
Blairsville Solar Farm recently celebrated its grand opening with informative tours, a ribbon cutting, speeches, and delicious food. Over 150 people gathered from around the world to celebrate the opening of the farm and to learn about the future of sustainable energy. Dignitaries from Spain, Florida, Italy, France, and Union County were on hand to show support and answer questions.
Jeff Burkett, President of ESA Renewables welcomed everyone to the grand opening. He said, “This major milestone project is a significant step forward for the development of the clean energy industry in Georgia.”
The Blairsville Solar Farm, covering five acres, is the largest one of its type in Georgia. Trey Pippin, President of Renewable Properties says, “Blairsville Solar Farm is a one megawatt facility producing 1.3 million kilowatts of power. The plant generates enough energy to run up to 150 homes. It saves the environment by replacing 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide with clean energy - the equivalent of 280 acres of trees.”
During the event, weather was appropriate with clear skies and bright sunshine. Visible from Highway 76, the big black panels are engineered and manufactured by Suniva (a company spun out from the Georgia Tech University Center of Excellence in Photovoltzics.) The ART245-60 Monocrystalline Solar Modules consist of high efficiency, high power cells designed and manufactured in the USA. They are suited for standalones as well as grid-tied systems.
During the tours people learned all kinds of things about solar panels. The Blairsville Solar Farm’s panels are tough. They can withstand 90 mph hail and are under warranty to perform for at least 25 years! They are cleansed by natural rainfall although if birds become a problem, some hand-washing may be necessary once or twice a year.
Providing turnkey solutions, ESA Renewables plays an integral part in the Blairsville Solar Farm. ESA Renewables consists of team members focused on harnessing the sun’s energy to produce solar energy. They provide solar solutions from start to finish covering everything from financing to construction and maintenance. They are a global presence with over 400 installations in the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
According to Cleantech.com, “The power produced by the privately held Blairsville Solar Farm will be traded to Tennessee Valley Authority and its Generation Partners pilot program. Generation Partners offers incentives for the installation of renewable production systems.”
The Blairsville Solar Farm is located at 2320 Ed King Road (corner of Old Blue Ridge Highway and Ed King Road), Blairsville, GA 30512. For more information, visit www.esarenewables.com.