Commissioners postpone vote about solar energy facility in Dougherty County

    The future of a proposed solar energy facility in Dougherty County is still to be determined. / Mary Green

    Dougherty County commissioners were supposed to vote Monday about whether or not a new solar energy facility can be built in the southeast corner of the county.

    But they decided to table that vote until next Monday until they get more information.

    District 6 Commissioner Anthony Jones requested a presentation from a professor from the University of Georgia on solar energy production. That presentation will also be next Monday.

    "I just want to make sure we're doing the right thing here," he said. "No deal is a good deal until you have all the facts."

    But the decision to postpone the vote didn't stop people both for and against the project from telling commissioners how they feel about it in a public hearing.

    A few people who live near the facility's proposed site, which is along Moultrie Road and Spring Flats Road and near Gaissert Road, said they don't want it in their neighborhood.

    "Not only are they ugly, and people who live right across the road from them get up in the morning and look out and see all these solar panels," said John Hughes, who lives on Spring Flats Road.

    Another neighbor said he's concerned about what effect it might have on "humanity, our environment and wildlife."

    But NextEra Energy Project Manager Stephen Land said that shouldn't happen.

    "There's no studies that prove any kind of negative consequence to landowners near a solar project," he said.

    The energy produced across about 440,000 solar panels on the 1,089-acre site would be sold to Georgia Power.

    Land said that should mean big benefits for Dougherty County.

    "Over the 30-year life of this project, this will add $10 million in tax revenues to this county," he said.

    He said that is in addition to about 300 construction jobs that will be needed to build the facility.

    Tracy Bridges, whose family owns part of the land where the facility would go, said he wants to see it happen.

    "What we need is a strong commitment from county leaders and citizens alike to embrace the future," he said.

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