published Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Workers lay foundation for solar power farm in Dalton

Workers from one of Georgia's biggest solar energy companies on Tuesday began laying the foundation for a solar farm that could eventually power up to 400 homes in Dalton, Ga.

United Renewable Energy is building the first phase of a 5-acre solar power generating facility. Not only will the initial 1,560 solar panels generate 350 kilowatts of renewable power from the sun for an average of five hours a day, the site of the solar farm is itself a kind of renewable project.

The solar panels are located on a portion of Dalton Utilities' Land Application System that the utility previously used to treat sewage.

"This is an ideal use of this site," said Bill Silva, president and founder of United Renewable Energy. "By the last week of March, the system should be online and producing energy that will be used throughout Dalton."

The solar farm is being financed and will be owned by Georgia Power Co.

The installation is the largest utility-owned solar farm to generate power to be sold on the wholesale market, project officials said.

Dalton Utilities will buy the power under a 25-year lease agreement with Georgia Power and will gain renewable energy credit for the solar installation.

"This is a major initiative expanding green energy in Georgia," Dalton Utilities President Don Cope said.

Contact Dave Flessner at or at 757-6340.

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