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New Purpose for Avery Christmas Tree Farm PDF Print
Written by Steve Frank   
Friday, 30 September 2011 06:04

They cut the ribbon yesterday on a new solar farm—replacing Christmas trees on 6 acres on Henderson Farms’ 38-acre Tree farm near Newland.  It is now Avery Solar is a 1 megawatt solar power plant, developed and owned by O2 Energies, Inc. and constructed by Strata Solar out of Chapel Hill. The $5 million plant uses REC Solar panels—with American made silicon—to generate electricity equivalent to what more than 120 homes consume on an annual basis. Markus Wilhelm of Strata Solar said they intentionally went in to hire local workers for the project, "Our job here was not only to build a solar farm--we wanted to create local jobs. So we work with the local development boards, we work with universities, we work with several other organizations in order to create these jobs. We hired 23 people locally here, we took seven of the 23 on to Shelby where we build a plant about five times the size of what you just saw.  We also hired two supervisors perminantly that will work with the Strara staff to help build solar farms. And these are jobs with a bright future."
The company partnered with the High County Workforce Development Board and the Youth Chamber of Commerce to recruit local installers. 
The solar plant will supply power to Mountain Electric, especially during times of peak demand. In addition to providing Newland residents and businesses with clean, renewable energy, it may become a tourist destination, with visitors and locals having opportunities to visit Avery Solar to learn firsthand about solar energy.

  
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