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Hurdle Mills Solar

Project Overview

Hurdle Mills Solar, LLC is a proposed 80 MW AC solar farm located in Person County, NC. The project currently sits on approximately 699 acres located at Hurdle Mills Road, about one half mile north of Hurdle Mills, NC. The land is currently zoned Residential and Rural Conservation and is seeking a rezone to Rural Conservation. Solar farms are permitted in Rural Conservation districts with approval of a Special Use Permit.

Hurdle Mills Solar is currently going through the rezoning permitting process. If approved, construction of the project is expected to begin in 2022, with operations commencing in 2023.

Hurdle Mills Solar would provide enough local clean energy to power approximately 16,778 homes each year, and would provide low cost, clean power generation to Person County.

Developer: Pine Gate Renewables

Estimated Jobs Created: 300

Community Benefits
  • Significant property tax revenue for the county without drawing on schools, police, fire or other public services
  • Improved energy security and supply
  • Reduced dependence on fossil fuels
  • Zero-emissions energy
  • Creation of approximately 300 jobs during construction, which will lead to economic opportunities such as increased activity at local hotels and restaurants and business for local heavy machinery rental companies
  • A quiet neighbor – once operational, the solar farm will require very little maintenance, and can be managed by operations professionals who visit every few months
Environmental Benefits

Pine Gate is a community partner and is committed to being a good neighbor in developing an environmentally-friendly project. Through our trademarked SolarCulture initiative, we assess each site for viability of additional installations that further protect and preserve the land.

SolarCulture is an eco-friendly initiative in which Pine Gate mitigates impacts to the natural surroundings through activities such as planting pollinator habitat, restoring native vegetation, implementing sustainable agriculture on-site, and utilizing wildlife permeable fencing that allows animals such as foxes, rabbits, and other small mammals to pass through. Pine Gate’s wildlife-permeable fencing has been developed in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy to minimize a solar farm’s impact on wildlife movement.

Pine Gate collaborates with environmental organizations to pursue the development of SolarCulture initiatives for its solar projects whenever possible and intends to work with Person County to explore opportunities to implement such initiatives on Hurdle Mills Solar.

In accordance with Person County regulations, significant natural vegetative buffering will be installed around the project, including:

  • 150’ vegetative buffers around entire perimeter of project
  • 300’ from nearest panel to nearest dwelling
  • 150’ from property lines and right-of-ways if no dwelling exists on adjoining parcel

Read about one of our landowners in Michigan who shares what our solar farm has done for him and his community.

Project Timeline

  • 03/01/21

    Community Information Meeting
  • 03/09/21

    Planning Board Meeting
  • 04/05/21

    Board of Commissioners Meeting
  • Q2 2022

    Expected Construction Start
  • Q2 2023

    Expected Operational Date

About Pine Gate Renewables

Based in Asheville, NC, Pine Gate Renewables is a fully-integrated utility-scale solar company and a leader in the strategic development, financing, construction and long-term operational management of renewable energy projects in the United States. Pine Gate operates 480MW of renewable energy in five states and has developed and constructed more than 4,330MW of projects in the Southeast. Pine Gate’s solar farms generate renewable energy that connect to local utility grids, provide tax dollars to local economies, and offer clean energy to the communities in which they’re located. Pine Gate is leading the way to make renewable energy costs competitive with fossil fuels, driving economic growth, creating jobs and directly impacting the environment for local communities.

Everything we do is managed in-house, ranging from:
  • Local, regional and national permitting & approvals
  • Complete utility grid applications & interconnection agreements
  • Solar farm construction and operational management

Pine Gate takes pride in our track record. The company was recognized with a gold safety award from the NC Department of Labor and was a Solar Power World magazine Top Solar Contractor in 2019. To see more about the work Pine Gate does, visit our website.

Frequently Asked Questions

1When are you going to build the solar project and how long will it take?

Once plans are approved, the construction and installation process usually takes approximately 9-12 months to complete, depending on the size and scope of the project.

2Will this project create extra traffic in the area?

During construction, which is anticipated to take around 9 months, we anticipate approximately three large trucks visiting the site per day on average. Once constructed, the solar farm will require minimal attention. We anticipate one pick-up truck per week on average from our site maintenance crew.

3Is the solar project noisy?

Once operational, the solar project will emit virtually no noise. The equipment on site typically emits a maximum noise level below 50 decibel from 10 yards away, which is comparable to a typical conversation volume. At a distance of 30 feet, the sound of the inverter is about as loud as the sound produced by normal conversation (~65 decibels). At a distance of 500 feet, the noise is produces is inaudible (~40 decibels).

During construction, some construction noise is inevitable, similar to any other construction activity. We limit any potentially disruptive construction activity to normal working hours.

From the distance of your home, it’s unlikely you’ll hear any noise.

4What are the setbacks for your solar installation?

The project will adhere to required setbacks for your local community. Typically, they are:

  • 100 feet from public right-of-ways
  • 50 feet from property lines
5Can I see the solar project from my house?

With the solar equipment installed away from existing property lines and public access points, you shouldn’t be able to see the solar farm unless you go looking for it. We will also install a vegetative buffer to shield the project from view.

6Do the solar panels reflect light into my house?

Solar farms have minimal-to-zero impact on the surrounding community in terms of glare. Solar panels are designed to absorb light rather than reflect it. Any glare present is comparable to the reflection from a still lake or pond. Panel positioning ensures this minimal glare is pointed upward and away from people and cars at ground level.

7How much maintenance does a solar project require?

Once built, solar farms require little maintenance - you’ll hardly know it’s there! Our maintenance crew will check on the site sporadically throughout the year.

  • Virtually self-sufficient
  • Produces less traffic than the average multi-family home
  • Environmentally-friendly grass and weed control
  • Native plant and shrub buffers where applicable
  • Continuous remote monitoring
8Do I get less expensive energy because of the solar project?

Overall, the installation of more solar will have a stabilizing effect on all utility bills. More solar in a utility’s energy mix means more certain energy prices over a long-term period. This solar project will produce local energy that will be sold directly to the electric utility to add to their total generation mix.

9How do you choose a location for a solar project?

As with all our projects, we look for suitable land that has close access to connect to the existing utility grid, and therefore provide clean energy to the local community. Our teams of experts have assessed that the electricity grid in this area has the capacity to collect and distribute the power generated from the solar project.

10Have you done this before?

Yes, we have been developing solar projects since 2013 and currently operate 55 solar farms in 5 states, with dozens more in development.

11Are solar panels safe?

Yes, solar panels are safe. The panels themselves are sealed and made mostly of everyday materials such as glass, sand, aluminum and copper. Other materials are very limited and sealed inside the panels. Numerous studies have proven them safe: solar.gwu.edu/do-solar-panels-contain-toxic-chemicals

Moreover, solar panels create electricity without any harmful emissions.

The solar project is also safe with various electrical fuses and switches to protect the project, the surrounding electricity network, and the environment from any short circuits or sparks. We enclose the solar farm with a locked fence to avoid any exposure to the public and only trained engineers are permitted to maintain the solar installation.

12What is the environmental impact of having a solar project?

Solar projects are built to last and during this time, the underlying land will be undisturbed by humans, pesticides and other damaging factors to biodiversity. Over the many sites we have built we have found that biodiversity, pollinator habitats, small mammals, migrating birds, and soil health increase dramatically during the life of the solar project.

13How big will these panels be?

One panel is approximately 6’6 x 3’3 (2m x 1m).

14Are they going to do a drainage study outside of the wetlands?

Yes, we do engineering studies on stormwater and the effects of construction on drainage patterns. The NC Department of Environmental Quality reviews the studies and confirms the findings before issuing permits. The ground cover on solar projects is still pervious with approximately 98% of the site covered in native grasses. Most municipalities have a threshold for traditional development of 12-24% impervious surface before studies are required.

15Does your construction cause pollution to the ground and water table?

The equipment that is installed in a solar project is rigorously tested, and after 40 years will only introduce trace residue of zinc and steel, much less than the National Standard. The biodiversity of the underlying land will vastly improve over the life of the project.

16Will there be a visual barrier in place on the project?

Yes, there will be landscaping and fencing that will create a visual buffer and obscure the solar farm from public view. The landscaping is currently being designed in accordance with County regulations.

17What happens at the end of the period?

After the life span of a solar farm, it will be decommissioned. We will safely remove the modules and all project materials and restore the site to its previous condition.

Site Photos

Questions?

Please feel free to reach out to our Project Manager, Sean Andersen, at the contact information below:

Sean Andersen
sandersen@pgrenewables.com

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