Solar farm proposed in Zebulon

Resident to go before commissioners for rezoning

aspecht@newsobserver.comDecember 31, 2012 

RALEIGH

— A Zebulon man is requesting permission to rezone his property on Pearces Road in Zebulon to pave the way for a solar farm.

Chad Ray, of 2129 Pearces Road, petitioned Wake County to allow for a solar farm on 15 acres of his property, and a public hearing is scheduled for the Wake County Board of Adjustment meeting on Jan. 8.

Ray said an energy company – which he declined to name – offered to buy the property from him. He currently grows sorghum on the land.

“Instead of crops, it’s gonna grow energy,” Ray said.

Solar farms are becoming increasingly popular around the Triangle. Several other requests are also expected to come before county leaders in the coming months. Last year, Zebulon took steps to allow solar farms within its corporate limits.

Ray’s property is just outside the Zebulon town limits. He said the company plans to build a 2-megawatt facility in order to harness the energy and sell it back to Progress Energy. Local residents would use the energy, he said: It will harness enough solar power for more than 200 homes.

At least one property owner isn’t enthused about the idea.

Mel Ferrell, who owns 25 acres near Ray’s property, is concerned about the toll a solar farm might take on the local property values.

“I don’t want to make a big stir about it, but (the solar farm’s potential impact on property values) is a concern,” he said. “You’ll definitely be able to see the farm from the road.”

Ferrell says he plans to attend the public hearing, which will take place at 9 a.m. in room 700 of the Wake County Courthouse located at 336 Fayetteville Street in Raleigh. People with questions about the public hearing are asked to call Brenda Coats, Wake County planner, at 919-856-6215.

Specht: 919-829-4826

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