Wiregrass Solar is the first of several projects —Sonny Murphy

Let’s look at Sterling Planet’s own press release about the Wiregrass Solar commissioning. What’s this about a first phase? And what’s the second phase?

Sterling Planet announces completion of one of Georgia’s largest solar generating projects: First phase of Valdosta solar project now supplies green energy to Georgia Power.

Sterling Planet, the leading national retail provider of renewable energy and other clean-energy assets, today announced at a commissioning ceremony the completion of a 200 kWAC output solar generating project in Valdosta. One of the largest solar arrays in the state of Georgia, the Wiregrass Solar, LLC project began commercial operation on April 6 and is now generating annualized output of approximately 350,000 kilowatt-hours. This is enough clean, emission-free electricity to power 350 Georgia homes using the average amount of 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity monthly.

Developed by Sterling Planet, Wiregrass Solar supplies green power for the Georgia Power Green Energy program, an option for the utility’s customers who voluntarily choose to support renewable power and help generate more of it in Georgia.

OK, that’s all good. Congratulations!

Also notice Sterling Planet doesn’t make the mayor’s mistake in saying this is the largest solar array in Georgia, like WCTV after Pete Marte of Hannah Solar corrected it, Sterling says “one of the largest”.

But what’s this about “first phase”?

Wiregrass Solar is located on two acres owned by the city of Valdosta and leased to the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority. The site is adjacent to the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and is also the future location of Wiregrass Biomass, LLC, a Sterling Planet project now in development that would reclaim the wastewater treatment plant’s processed water for cooling and would also use clean wood waste and the plant’s industrial sludge as fuel, significantly reducing the amount of waste going into landfills.
That’s the stubborn part, the “It’s not over until it’s over” part. But it’s actually not the second phase.

I promised to spell this out: “The very same people who are adamant about building the biomass plant have provided us with the carrots needed to make sure it’s never built.” Here comes a carrot.

This is the second phase:

“Wiregrass Solar is the first of several projects we’re managing for the benefit of the people, environment and economy of Georgia,” said Therrell “Sonny” Murphy, Jr., chairman of the board for Sterling Planet. “We’re hoping to develop a second phase, which would add 1 megawatt (1,000 kW) of capacity to the existing solar array and will most likely make this solar project the largest in Georgia when complete. We estimate that Wiregrass Solar ultimately will have six times its current capacity and will generate enough electricity to power 2,100 homes.”
All right! Go for it, Sterling Planet!

And Hannah Solar:

Hannah Solar, a full-service solar integrator based in Atlanta, designed and constructed the first phase of Wiregrass Solar at a cost of $1.2 million, with $500,000 of the total coming from a Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority grant. While these grants are no longer available, state legislators earlier this year approved a bill that extends the Georgia renewable energy tax credit through 2014 and increases the total statewide credit amount from $2.5 million to $5 million in each of the years 2012-2014.

“Georgia is now poised to be a national leader in the adoption of solar energy,” said Peter Marte, president of Hannah Solar, the Southeast’s fastest growing solar integrator, with 1.6 megawatts of new solar generating capacity installed statewide over the past year. “We’re just out of the starting block. With extension of the tax credit for solar development and the state’s vast untapped solar potential, Georgia is well-positioned for what promises to be an exciting decade in the expansion of solar production and all the benefits that will result — zero-emissions electricity production, new jobs and increased tax revenues.”

Go Hannah Solar! Go solar for jobs for south Georgia!