Mayberry Goes Solar

Mount Airy, N.C., the birthplace of Andy Griffith and the basis for his popular show’s town “Mayberry,” has gone solar.

“Tens of thousands of people visit Mount Airy each year in search of a simpler time and place, but this is a city that is preserving the best of its past while embracing its future,” said Olee Joel Olsen, managing director at O2 Energies. “The six-acre solar farm opening today will generate clean energy for the residents and businesses of Mount Airy for generations to come.”

O2 Energies, Inc. announced today it has commissioned Mayberry Solar, a 1.2 MW solar power plant, which will be Surry County’s first large scale solar installation. The six-acre solar power plant will generate enough power to offset the electricity usage of hundreds of average homes.

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“O2 Energies’ Mayberry Solar plant is a major achievement in the city’s effort to bring renewable energy projects to our local economy, and it shows that our community intends to compete and lead in the implementation of this emerging technology,” said Mount Airy Community Development Officer Martin Collins.

The Mayberry Solar Farm is located only three miles from Mount Airy’s historic Main Street on six acres of buffer land surrounding the municipal wastewater treatment plant.

Emphasis on creating work for the local community has boosted local support immensely.

“Thanks to the Mayberry Solar Farm project, 15 to 20 local businesses have already been involved with some phase of construction,” said Chamber President Betty Ann Collins.  “We are confident that the Mayberry Solar Farm will become a positive tool in future economic development plans and provide the platform for additional growth in the renewable energy industry in our city.”

O2 energies worked with Surrey Bank & Trust to provide loan financing for the multimillion dollar project, and work for more than more 100 individuals was created at contractors like Sowers Construction, Ken Horton Logging, and Lewis Cox Surveying all based in Mount Airy.

North Carolina-based Strata Solar provided engineering, procurement and construction services. “We are excited to provide work opportunities for skilled laborers in the community,” said John Morrison, chief operating officer at Strata. “Strata and O2 share a common goal to create local economic development.”

Mayberry Solar not only uses local labor but O2 energies selected equipment with a high content of US manufactured components. Solar module manufacturer REC, who manufactures their solar grade silicon in the US, will supply more than 5000 Peak Energy 235-W modules for the Mayberry Solar power system.  “We are proud to have our high-efficiency, REC solar modules included in the Mayberry Solar Farm,” said Marius Kroksjø, REC’s director for U.S. and emerging markets. “REC applauds O2 Energies’ efforts to create a solar project that is 100 percent American made and locally resourced.”

SMA Solar Technology AG will supply two Sunny Central 500HE-US (500 kW) inverters assembled at its Denver factory.

ElectriCities of North Carolina and Duke Energy will buy the renewable energy credits and electricity generated from Mayberry Solar.

In addition to providing Mount Airy residents with clean energy and work opportunties, locals and visitors to the area will have the opportunity to visit the farm and learn about solar energy.

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