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Sawnee EMC buys into solar energy project

CUMMING — Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation announced its participation in a new Georgia solar source after it acquired a 34 percent stake in a 52-megawatt project in Jeff Davis County, near Hazlehurst.

This is the third such project Sawnee EMC’s Board of Directors has approved during the past year. The new project will bring Sawnee’s total solar generation capacity to 42 MW, which is enough solar energy to power thousands of homes.

“We continue to look for responsible and economically viable ways to diversify our overall energy portfolio, especially when it is cost effective and meets the goal of limiting the effects of carbon on our state with regard to generation electricity,” said Michael Goodroe, president and CEO of the Cumming-based corporation.

The endeavor, from which Sawnee EMC and eight other Georgia EMCs will receive output, is located on a 600-acre tract of South Georgia farmland.

The site will be covered with “hundreds of thousands of ground-mounted solar panels, each of which will track the sun as the day passes, making them more efficient.”

The panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it to electricity, which will then be imported onto the electric grid and transmitted throughout the state.

Annually, it will produce more than 130 million kWh of clean, renewable electricity.

Construction on the project is set to begin in early 2016, and Sawnee EMC members should be using the solar power resources by no later than early 2017.