The Millen News
Jenkins County’s second solar farm is now in operation. Clean, green electric power began flowing Dec. 18th from a major utility-scale solar array built by Boston-based Citizens Energy Corporation on an old dairy farm in southeastern Georgia.
Electricity from the Old Midville Solar Project in Millen began feeding into the transmission grid after the symbolic pulling of an electric switch by Brian Morrissey, Managing Director of Citizens Solar, Jenkins County Commission Chairman Jerry Henry and Robin Scott, Millen City Councilman.
Local businesses and elected leaders also attended the commissioning ceremony for the 28-megawatt solar farm, built on 233 acres of a closed dairy farm, owned by the B.L. Kent family. The $45 million project, one of the largest investments in Jenkins County in years, created 250 construction jobs.
Power from the project’s 90,000 ground-mounted panels will produce about 45,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power close to 3,000 homes or displace 28,000 tons of carbon every year – the equivalent of taking 6,000 cars off the road.
The project, permitted by the Jenkins County Development Authority, is selling all the electricity to Georgia Power in keeping with the utility’s aggressive support of renewable energy. Citizens Energy was selected by Georgia Power as a renewable energy provider through a highly competitive bid. The Old Midville Solar Project will add $250,000 annually to county tax revenues.
“This is a great day for Jenkins County. We’re extremely proud to welcome Citizens Energy Corporation as a corporate citizen to our community and as a partner in progress. Their extensive solar panel enterprise will provide clean energy to area citizens for many years,” said Jenkins County Commission Chairman Henry, who also sits on the board of the Jenkins County Development Authority. “The construction period and ongoing operations here are creating additional economic development, job creation, and improved business opportunities for Jenkins County.”
“We’re proud of our work with our partners here in Jenkins County to build the largest solar array to date in our portfolio of 30 projects,” said Mr. Morrissey, a Georgia native and West Point graduate who has directed Citizens Solar’s growth over the last six years.
“This project is a win-win for everyone. It provides affordable green energy that cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, brings jobs and significant tax dollars to Jenkins County, and generates revenues our parent company, non-profit Citizens Energy Corporation, uses to help the poor,” Mr. Morrissey said.
“This project will produce clean, reliable energy for many years to come. The solar energy market across the state is rapidly growing. We anticipate 1,000 other projects in the future,” said Tim McGill, Georgia Power.
Citizens Solar is a division of Citizens Energy Corporation (www.citizensenergy.com), a Boston-based nonprofit founded by former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II. Under Kennedy’s leadership as chairman and president, Citizens Energy has compiled a 35-year history of channeling revenues from successful energy ventures to programs that help the poor. Citizens Solar is a major developer of utility-scale solar arrays that specializes in building solar farms on capped and closed landfills and other underused land parcels.