Solar projects on a community’s land / in a community need buy-in from that community. For the Sand Bluff Solar Project, collaboration between Origis Energy and community leaders from Archer, Florida’s Historic African-American community was key. Community leaders and adjoining property owners expressed concerns with original site plans for the project, and Origis Energy agreed to withdraw its original application and relaunch the project in a different location.
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Archer resident Jeraldine McMillan stated, “This Agreement preserves the character and nature of our historic, rural African-American community while embracing solar development in a more compatible location. Our community is happy with the outcome, and I would specifically like to thank our pro bono attorney, Nathan Skop, for helping us protect our community.”
Nathan Skop, a Gainesville attorney who provided pro bono legal representation to the Archer community stated, “After many months of negotiations, this Agreement represents a positive outcome for my pro bono clients. Origis Energy showed good faith in working together to find a ‘win-win’ solution that everyone can be proud of.”
The 50 MW planned project will supply enough energy to power over 11,000 homes and is now anticipated to begin operations in 2024.
“We are proud to say that after months of listening to and working with the community behind the scenes, we have found a solution and are proud to have earned a partner in our goal to produce clean, renewable solar energy in Alachua County,” said Johan Vanhee, Chief Commercial and Procurement Officer for Origis Energy.
Vanhee notes that Origis is also “redoubling” efforts to live up to its standards for community engagement, while working to preserve and protect the local communities they we partner with.
Origis Energy plans to continue its engagement to support relaunching the Sand Bluff Solar project as it takes the next steps of studying sites compatible with the landscape and the community.
Archer property owner Loretha Cleveland stated, “Since the issue has been amicably resolved, a visible precedent for future projects is in place to uphold high standards for community engagement with deliberation to maintain respect and positive development for all involved parties.”
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