New solar farm opening in Dillon County - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

New solar farm opening in Dillon County

Ayers Loop Road and S.C. 9 in Lake View is the proposed location of the new solar farm. (Source: Audrey Biesk) Ayers Loop Road and S.C. 9 in Lake View is the proposed location of the new solar farm. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

DILLON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A solar farm is coming soon to Dillon County and economic development said it’s a long-term investment the county is ready for.

This 60-acre solar farm will be on Ayers Loop Road along S.C. 9 in Lake View.

The renewable energy base out of Charlotte, North Carolina, Pine Gate Renewables is in charge of building the farm. The project is costing the county an investment of around $7.5 million.

"This solar farm will generate about five megawatts of electricity that equates to enough power to power 1,500 homes, so that’s a direct benefit to the community," said Tonny McNeil, executive director of Dillon County Economic Development.

The community can then sell it back to their utility company, thereby increasing Dillon County's tax base.

"So it generates about $45,000 in new taxes," McNeil said. "There is no permanent jobs associated with it, but temporary jobs in terms of installing panels, but the indirect benefit is that it would complement the industrial benefit and the community.”

Along with an increased tax base bringing in an additional $45,000 to Dillon County, McNeil said there is a fee-in-lieu-of-increased-tax agreement, where the company pays a flat rate and the special source revenue credit is an additional tax credit.

Officials with Pine Gate Renewables said there are some requirements for land for a solar farm. It must be close to existing power lines and existing industry, have natural buffer zones and have a minimal impact to the environment.

McNeil said he hopes this project is just the beginning of more industrial development.

“We have aerospace here, we have distribution, food processing, as well as the inland port. So it complements all of those industries and really any business that is here," McNeil said.

McNeil added Dillon County is gearing up for a wave of more economic development in the very near future and this solar farm coming soon is just one example of that.

The solar farm is expected to be up and running by the end of 2017 and construction is set to begin within one month.

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