Could McDonough build a solar power farm? Council exploring the possibility.

Photo of solar panels at Georgia Power solar farm near Guyton (Effingham Herald photo / Birk Herrath)

Solar power farm near Guyton, GA (Effingham Herald photo / Birk Herrath)

The city of McDonough is exploring the development of a solar power farm on city-owned property. The possibility is in the early stages of discussion but, if built, would secure a new source of revenue to offset city expenses.

The property consists of 91.44 +/- acres located at the northeast corner of highway 155 and Turner Church Road. The city bought the property in 2018 for use as a future water reservoir, but there is a significant amount of high ground available for solar panels. The farm would cover approximately seventy acres.

If constructed, the city would utilize the power generated to operate the nearby waste water treatment plant then sell the difference to either Georgia Power or Snapping Shoals EMC. Over a twenty year span, the project would collect an estimated $61 million in revenues.

Former city administrator Keith Dickerson envisions the solar farm as an alternate revenue stream for the city and a way to lessen the financial burden on the city’s property owners. Dickerson left the city staff last month to be closer to family, but has been retained by the city to continue representing McDonough on the solar farm project.

Building the farm would cost $24 million and can be financed through a GEFA loan. Construction would last two years with the first panels coming online producing energy prior to full build-out. The solar panels have a twenty-five year lifespan before seeing a reduction in energy collections.