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Massive proposed solar farm near Elizabeth City 'better stay local,' neighbors say

Pasquotank County leaders are reviewing a proposal to build a 2,940-acre solar farm near the wind turbine farm west of Elizabeth City.

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WVEC) — In an area boasting 104 swirling wind turbines and a commitment to renewable energy, solar power could be the next frontier.

Pasquotank County commissioners are reviewing an application from a developer to build a 2,940-acre solar farm west of Elizabeth City on open farmland. It would be the second largest solar farm east of the Mississippi River. The large solar panels would be built west of Bypass 17 within sight of the wind turbine field.

People living in the Elizabeth City area said they’re supporting energy expansion, as long as some of that energy stays local and lowers utility prices.

“Having something that could help bring down prices would help be able to put some money away for my child's future," Brittney Sawyer said.

Other residents said they want to keep cost benefits local, use tax revenue for the area and add local jobs.

“I would like to see the solar power field come here so we can have better prices," June Overton said. "There are a lot of people suffering with high bills, and I’m thinking about the older people those who can’t afford it.”

The sustainability and environmental impacts are positives for Sawyer.

“We do get a lot of wind here and we do get a fair amount of sun so why not use that to our advantage," she said.

The Pasquotank planning board recommended keeping solar panels at least a half mile away from the bypass, saving space for future development. The board approved the plan and sent it to the commission last week.

Teresa Boyd and her sister said they're hoping solar energy might give them a few extra shopping trips together in the future.

“Clean energy...I want to live a little longer," she said.

Pasquotank County commissioners will vote on the solar power project on Monday, November 19.

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