Tag Archives: Wiregrass Solar

Solar power is the peoples power —Alden Hathaway

After he talked about expanding the Wiregrass Solar plant by another megawatt, Alden Hathaway of Sterling Planet said this:
Solar power is the peoples power.

Whether you’re talking about grid tied power here in America tied to the wire, or solar in the rural countryside of Uganda, it’s immediately available and accessible in all sizes. So I can use it to power a cell phone, charge a laptop, put light in a school, or pump water in a hospital. Solar is immediately available to do that, without massive which is a barrier to development in much of the developing world.

And to development in south Georgia, for that matter. So we can leapfrog that barrier with solar.

Here’s the video:

Solar power is the peoples power –Alden Hathaway
Commissioning Ceremony,
Wiregrass Solar, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 12 May 2011.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


Expanding Wiregrass Solar —Alden Hathaway of Sterling Planet

Alden Hathaway of Sterling Planet said he hopes to expand the Wiregrass Solar array in Valdosta to an additional megawatt, taking it from being one of the largest in Georgia to one of the largest in the southeast. This is the man Sterling Planet Chairman Sonny Murphy singled out for praise. This is the expansion project Sonny Murphy promoted in the Sterling Planet press release. Alden Hathaway knows what needs to be done, and Pete Marte and Hannah Solar stand ready to do it.

Alden Hathaway also talked about how solar helps load distribution on the electric grid, lowering electric rates for everybody. He remarked that once power companies realized that, they’d be for solar. More on that later.

But meanwhile, let’s ask Mayor Fretti and Commissioner Crawford Powell when they’re going to do this: Continue reading

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”? Continue reading

The Biomass Mystery —Karen Noll

This comment from Karen Noll came in Saturday on It’s not over until it’s over. -jsq
It is unfortunate that such a wonderful event ; the commissioning of the large solar facility in our community, was sullied by Mr. Sonny Murphy’s comments about the viability of biomass. I was then compelled to ask the players in attendance the very pressing question, so where is the biomass issue. Mr Murphy & Mr Ricketts spoke of milestones to be met. The mystery continues.

THE BIOMASS MYSTERY: We all love a good murder mystery. The sleuth that finds the murderer of the dead biomass plant. Oh, that would be fun, but for the plot to work we need a dead biomass plant.

If they want to quietly disappear Mr. Murphy is sending the wrong messages. A disappearance has been the favored outcome from the officials I’ve spoken with. If they want to walk away quietly- fine. I can handle that. Just give us the proper clues that this monster is simply going to wander into the woods to die…, we’ll all look away politely, and then take a peek before celebrating. The mixed messages make for a very poor mystery novel.

-Karen Noll

Putting power on the grid at Wiregrass Solar Commissioning

Congratulations on the commissioning ceremony for Wiregrass Solar!

Allan Ricketts (Acting Executive Director, VLCIA), Georgia Power rep., Roy Copeland (VLCIA Board member), Crawford Powell (Lowndes County Commissioner), John J. Fretti (Mayor of Valdosta), Therrell “Sonny” Murphy (Chairman of Sterling Planet), Tim Golden (Georgia State Senator), Pete Marte (CEO of Hannah Solar).

Continue reading

Using oil to move an automobile down the street … not something you’re going to see in 20 to 25 years. —Pete Marte

Pete Marte of Hannah Solar predicted that within a generation cars will run on electricity generated by solar arrays like the one commissioned last Thursday.

Col. Allan Ricketts introduced Pete Marte, CEO of Hannah Solar.

Here’s Part 1 of 3: Continue reading

“Solar power at one time was a theory, and now it’s in practice” —Sen. Tim Golden

State Sen. Tim Golden used Yogi Berra to illustrate that solar power is no longer just a theory: it’s now implemented in practice.
Yogi said, and I quote:
In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is.

I thought about that quote because solar power at one time was a theory, and now it’s in practice.

A very good point.

(This is also where Sonny Murphy got the idea to quote Yogi Berra.)

Sen. Golden mentioned that he and Sonny Murphy grew up with Gov. Nathan Deal.

He said he met Pete Marte of Hannah Solar at the governor’s office the previous day, at the signing of HB 346, which includes solar tax credits. That’s the bill that Wes Hudson said “extends the renewable energy tax credit to the year ending Dec. 31, 2014, and for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 it newly expands the total statewide credit amount from $2.5 million to $5 million in each of the years 2012-2014.”

Sen. Golden once again said we’d gone from theory to practice.

He lauded Jimmy Carter for putting solar panels on the White House Continue reading

The city says solar is the future —WCTV

Dontaye Carter wrote for WCTV, Local Community Goes Solar
The Azalea City is now home to one of the largest solar arrays in Georgia. The city is hoping the solar power will provide a cleaner, greener energy source for the future.

Note “one of the largest solar arrays in Georgia” instead of Mayor Fretti’s “the largest array in the state of Georgia”. This is because Pete Marte of Hannah Solar had to correct what the mayor said. But the mayor promised to make this one bigger if somebody else leapfrogged it, so time to get cracking!

Back to the WCTV article:

The $1.4 million Wiregrass Solar project was built on two acres of land, which will produce 350-thousand kilowatts per hour of electricity annually for the next 30 years.

On average that will come out to about nine cents per kilowatt hour.

The city says solar is the future and on Thursday it lit the way.

There are 1,100 solar panels here, but organizers say the most surprising part is it took 18 months to find financing, but it only took five days to build.

If you’re wondering what made Valdosta such a popular spot to build the solar arrays, the company, Hannah Solar says it was the attraction of the Wiregrass Biomass plant and…

“The second is the sun. We get some incredible sun down here in Valdosta and it’s a longer solar day because we’re farther south,” said Hannah Solar CEO Pete Marte.

Funny how the biomass plant has taken even longer to not find financing, and still is nowhere near even starting building, if it ever gets there. Expanding the solar array as the mayor said we would sounds a lot more practical.


Come back and expand on this one —Valdosta Mayor John Fretti

Yes, let’s celebrate Hannah Solar and this solar array! But why do people have to keep gilding the lily and claiming it’s the largest in the state when it wasn’t even back at groundbreaking? So if Valdosta Mayor John Fretti and County Commissioner Crawford Powell have agreed to expand this solar array if somebody leapfrogs it, time to get cracking! It was already leapfrogged before it was built.

After lauding his class of Leadership Lowndes over others, Mayor Fretti complimented various local organizations and said:

…not only that it has a good quality of life, it has the infrastructure that is needed for industrial recruitment, but that you will be successful when you locate in Valdosta-Lowndes County, and I think Hannah Solar is evidence of that.
All true, and note which comes first: “a good quality of life.”

Mayor Fretti quoted the first law of thermodynamics (conservation and conservation of energy) and remarked:

But now we have some energy sources in our area that we can take advantage of. Unfortunately we don’t have an ocean for tidal power. Unfortunately we don’t have geothermal as much as other areas of the country.

We do have sunlight. Certainly not as much as some areas of the country, but we have an abundance enough that we could put out what is currently the largest array in the state of Georgia.

That’s all good stuff, except this wasn’t the biggest solar array in the state even the last time Mayor Fretti stood on the same spot and said the same thing.

Maybe he (and everyone) should double-check what VLCIA tells him.

Brad Lofton knew Continue reading

What does this mean? —Leigh Touchton

This comment from Leigh Touchton came in last night on It’s not over until it’s over. I have added links and pictures. -jsq
I asked VLCIA Board member Roy Copeland afterwards whether this means the biomass incinerator is STILL going to be built? He shrugged and walked away.

Karen Noll asked Allan Ricketts what does this mean, since we all heard Lowndes County Commission Chairman Paulk give us a very different scenario at the last LCC meeting, and his remarks were covered in the Valdosta Daily Times. Mr. Ricketts said he was not aware of Chairman Paulk’s remarks.

Continue reading