SR26 Solar Farm, Trenton, Gilchrist County, Florida

What needs no washing, no irrigation, emits no wastewater, and disturbs no wetlands, while producing revenue for years after local installation jobs? 74.9 Megawatts AC of solar power going in at 4370 SW 80 Street, Trenton, Florida, assuming the Gilchrist BOCC approved it last week as staff recommended.

Area, Maps

Gilchrist Board of County Commissioners, Full Agenda, June 4, 2018, page 69:

Applicant – SRZG Solar Farm, LLC
Special Use Application Form Item D – Statement of Proposed land Use
Parcels: 11-10-14-0000-0003-0000; 12-10-14-0000-0003-0000; and 13-10-14-0000-0002-0000.

Page 69, Agenda SR26 Solar Farm, LLC is proposing to design and construct the SR26 Solar Farm (Project). The proposed SR26 Solar Farm electric generation facility wlll employ photovoltaic (PV) panels that absorb sunlight and directly produce electricity. The Project will encompass approximately 480 acres and have a maximum generation capacity of 74.9 megawatts (MW) alternating-current (AC). Given this capacity is less than the 75-MW threshold established by the Florida Electrical Power Plant Siting Act (PPSA), the Project is not a certified electric generation facility. The final Project design may be modified based on results of ongoing engineering and site studies but will not alter the Project’s overall footprint or maximum generation capacity.

Gilchrist, Maps

In general, solar electric generation facilities consist of three main systems: the PV field and support structures, an electrical collection system, and the electrical substation. The PV panels are anti-reflective coated and will be attached to a single-axis tracking system mounted an embedded (pounded) steel post. The tracking system allows the panels to rotate east-to~west throughout the day to track the movement of the sun, maximizing energy yield. Support posts will extend approximately 4 to 7 feet ft. above grade to elevate the exposed electrical equipment at least 1 ft. above established base flood elevations. When fully constructed, the typical height of horizontal PV panels will be approximately 6 ft., with a maximum height of up to 13 ft. at full rotation. The PV panels will be arranged in north-to-south rows with center-to-center spacing of approximately 12 to 16 ft. The rows of PV panels will be organlzed into electrical groups referred to as “arrays.” The arrays will include inverters that convert the direct current (DC) power from the solar panels to AC power, which is utilized on the power grid.

Florida, Maps

The current zoning for the Project site is A-2. In accordance with the Gilchrist County Land Development Code (LDC) Section 7.26, this project is a Special Use and requires a Special Use Permit. The project will meet all the conditions and requirements of the LDC. Additionally, as specified in the aforementioned LDC Section, the project will be designed with boundary-specific vegetative buffers and setback requirements. The Project has been designed to avoid jurisdictional wetlands and wetland buffers. Staging areas will be located within the footprint of the Project boundary.

Basin, Maps

Because of the frequent rainfall in the Project region, washing of the solar panels is not anticipated. There are no plans for irrigation. The Project will not produce wastewater that would require treatment or disposal. Upon completion of construction, there will be a maximum of 1—2 vehicular trips per week to the Project Site The Project will not create any noise outside the Project boundary.

As you can see by the maps, this new solar farm is in the Suwannee River Basin, between Trenton and Fanning Springs. None of the paperwork seemed to mention who the electric utility is, but Duke Energy is the big one in the Trenton area code 32693, although it could be Sumter Electric Cooperative (SECO Energy). Since we know Duke is building a bunch of these, starting with its Hamilton Solar Farm, I bet it’s Duke.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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