Solar farm owners want to expand

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The North Carolina Utilities Commission is considering changes proposed to a planned solar farm in Hurdle Mills that would push back the start up of the operation and more than doubles the size of the project considerable.The 80-megawatt solar farm to be located in Hurdle Mills would be capable of generating more than 161 million kilowatt hours to be sold to Duke Energy.

Since the project’s initial acceptance, Hurdle Mills Solar submitted an amendment to its application.

The amendment, submitted Oct. 23, 2019, also provides information on th new owners of the solar farm.

Hurdle Mills Solar, LLC submitted an application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the project Nov. 28. 2016. The proposed solar farm is located along the east and west sides of Hurdle Mills Road, generally north and south of the intersection of Hurdle Mills Road and Rogers-Whitfield Road. The application was accepted and a certificate of public convenience and necessity was issued Oct. 2, 2018 after a public hearing in May 2017 and an archaeological study was completed on the proposed project in May 2018.

The initial application noted the boundaries would be Person County Tax Parcel number 7538. The tax parcel is 353.76 acres, according to Person County GIS.

In the amended application, the facility encompasses three more tax parcels - 6561, 6707 and 5322 - an addition of just over 440 acres. The addition would take the facility to 797.57 acres, based on Person County GIS data.

The initial proposed start date of Oct. 1, 2020 was changed to Dec. 31 2022.

Silver Creek Energy is the new owner of Hurdle Mills Solar. The company’s principals are Matt McGovern and Mike Cohen, both previously of Cypress Creek Renewables, which is the company that owned Hurdle Mills Solar when the application was first approved.

According to the Oct. 2, 2018 certificate of public convenience and necessity, state staff found many of the public’s complaints were best left to county zoning and elected officials, noting that the site would need a special use permit from the county to operate a solar farm at the proposed location.

If any complaints are received before Feb. 4, the North Carolina Utilities Commission will schedule a public hearing to discuss awarding an amended certificate.

The application and related documents can be found in the North Carolina Utilities Commission Docket Portal online at www.ncuc.net under docket SP-8773.

Complaints must reference docket SP-8773, Sub 0, specifically, and be addressed as follows: Chief Clerk, North Carolina Utilities Commission, 4325 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC, 27699-4300 or Christopher J. Ayers, Executive Director, Public Staff - North Carolina Utilities Commission, 4326 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC, 27699-4300 or to The Honorable Josh Stein, Attorney General of North Carolina, c/o Consumer Protection-Utilities, 9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC, 27699-9001.

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