Andy Griffith never imagined that his hometown of Mt. Airy NC would generate more solar electricity per person than almost any other city in the U.S. Mount Airy, the inspiration of the fictional town of Mayberry in the Andy Griffith show, has just over 10,000 residents located in the North West part of North Carolina. Last year the 1.2 Megawatt Mayberry Solar farm was completed just 3 miles from the historic main street. This year, another 4.5 Megawatts of solar energy generation will be installed as part of the Ararat Rock Solar farm near Mount Airy.
O2 Energies is the developer, owner and operator of the Ararat Rock Solar farm which is being constructed on a 25 acre plot about a mile south of their Mayberry Solar Farm.
“We have developed a close relationship with the city of Mount Airy and contractors in Surry County. It was a natural step to site another project here, allowing us to use the local workforce that has already worked on other solar projects in our portfolio.” says O2 Energies Managing Director Joel Olsen.
O2 Energies chose National Renewable Energy Corporation (NARENCO), a Charlotte based engineering, procurement and construction contractor to construct the system. “NARENCO is honored to have been selected to work with O2 Energies on the Ararat Rock Solar farm. We have designed the project to take advantage of the natural contours of the site, creating a stunning project for O2 Energies, Mt. Airy and Surry County”, said Dennis Richter, senior vice president for NARENCO.
The electricity generated by the array will be sold to Duke Energy to power hundreds of local homes and businesses. The new array will be located next to the Ararat Rock Products quarry which has been in operation more than 60 years. Due to proximity, much of the power produced by the array will be consumed by the rock quarry during operating hours. Once the solar farm is placed on line, local sheep will maintain the grass inside the fenced area, while family farmers will work the land around the perimeter of the solar farm.
O2 Energies is focused on maximizing the use of US produced components, and local labor for its solar farms. The Ararat Rock Solar farm will use more than 18,000 REC solar modules which are manufactured with US produced silicon. In addition, O2 Energies selected Advanced Energy (AE) inverters manufactured in Colorado. This is the second solar project for which Surrey Bank & Trust, a local institution, will provide debt financing and insurance, making it one of the first local banks to have participated in a larger solar farm in their own community. O2 Energies is working with Surry Community College to provide workforce training for contractors and local labor who will be involved with the Ararat Rock Solar farm.
Ararat Rock Solar will begin construction in May and should be completed by the end of the year.