$1M solar farm powering Sylacauga homes


Green energy is becoming more of a reality in Alabama as a new, $1 million solar power farm is up and running in Sylacauga.

"We've had power bills, go seven, it has gone almost eight hundred dollars," Hilda Caldwell, a Childersburg local said.

Like others, Caldwell has seen some pricey power bills for her home.

After hearing about the new solar farm, Caldwell says she and her husband are on board with Sylacauga's newest form of energy.

"We think it might be something that we would be extremely interested in financially," Caldwell said.

The Alabama Municipal Electric Authority partnered with the Sylacauga Utilities Board on the project. It features 160 solar panels on about one acre of land. The solar farm operates on a fixed-axis system with South-facing panels and an output at 50 kilowatts.

"AMEA is excited to be an innovator in looking at alternate types of fuels and today looking at solar generation to provide better economics, lower pricing, as well as innovation," Fred Clark, President of the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority said.

Clark says Sylacauga locals may not notice a difference in their bill at first.

"No it won't be much, but they will know through their bills that they're contributing to renewable industry," Clark explained, "It will come at no additional cost."

He says one benefit to the farm is the research the not-for-profit agency is conducting.

"Small projects like this and smaller, we don't believe are economical yet," Clark said, "but as we look at a mixture of resources we believe that the future holds, we're committed for renewable to be economical, and [we're] figuring out how to do that."

Clark also believes the solar farm could attract more businesses to the area. He says some companies looking to open up shop are attracted to environmentally-friendly energy sources.

In a couple of years, the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority is looking to sell solar panel models to customers to power their own homes.

The solar farm is located at 304 W. Highland Avenue in Sylacauga.

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