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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - New solar farm nearly ready near Portal
Solar Farm web
A part of the solar panel farm on Highway 80 just east of Portal is shown above - photo by Special

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• Ag Night Out, Friday, 5 p.m. at First Friday Downtown. This Free event honors our agriculture community and helps educate the community about the critical role agri-business plays in our economy.
• Statesboro Service League's 41st Attic Sale will be held Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds on Highway 67. $3 entry fee. 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit community projects.
• Georgia Farm Bureau Ann ual meeting will be held Thursday, Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Social Hall. RSVP by Wednesday at (912) 764-6231.
• Farmers Market Vendor of the week: Little Chicken Ranch providing seasonal produce and eggs.



        Construction is nearly complete on a one megawatt solar farm on Highway 80 near Portal.
        The five-acre solar farm is being constructed on Statesboro attorney Joy Sawyer's farm.
        "I had been researching options for solar grants through the USDA when I was contacted by Inman Solar regarding building the solar farm on my land," Sawyer said.
        Inman Solar is a national provider of turnkey solar photovoltaic systems based in Atlanta. Inman is building the Sawyer project for Washington Gas and Energy systems based in Mclean, Va.
        "We look for projects that make economic sense and this one did," said Steve Chiarello of Inman Solar. "Then we have to go through an application process and a lottery to be selected by Georgia Power. We submitted 20 applications representing multiple land owners. There were over 800 total applicants and less than 60 were selected through the lottery."
        In addition to making economic sense, it is important that the property is adjacent to a three-phase power distribution network, like this project is. They have constructed 7,000 thin film stationary solar panels, which were manufactured by Stion, a Hattiesburg, Miss., company. The Portal site will generate enough power to supply nearly 120 residential homes. Sawyer signed a 20-year contract to lease the land. The project is privately funded by Washington Gas and Energy with no risk to the ratepayer or land owner.
        It brings in tax revenue for Bulloch County and provides a positive cash flow immediately to the community. They do all of this with a goal of putting energy in the network for less than what rate payers will pay from another source of generation.
        "Sawyer was lucky that everything worked for her in this project. There are hundreds of qualified sites waiting to be selected," Chiarello said. "I really do not see this being a windfall for land owners. There are lots of factors that have to connect for a project like this to work."
        The Sawyer project is part of Georgia Power Companies Advanced Solar Initiative. Growing solar in Georgia is a part of Georgia Power's strategy that includes renewable energy as one component of a balanced portfolio along with new nuclear, advanced coal and natural gas, as well as energy efficiency.
        By 2016, Georgia Power projects that it will have a solar portfolio of almost 900 megawatts - the largest voluntary solar portfolio in the nation. They anticipate more than 500 new solar projects will be brought online in the coming years as part of Georgia Power's various programs.
        Georgia Power continues to support the cultivation of cost-effective solar generation in Georgia. In addition to helping customers understand solar generation, with resources available online and solar consultants in the field, Georgia Power hosts, what I believe, are some of the most innovative and competitive solar development programs in the industry. Customers who want to learn more about Georgia Power's solar programs, should visit
        You can also reach out to Inman Solar at

        Please email DeWayne at or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.

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