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Gainer Makes Case For Solar Farm

Landowner George Gainer attended last Wednesday’s meeting of the Joint Development Authority and gave an impassioned argument to the Authority in favor of their nod of approval on the plans he and his brother, Grant Gainer, have for using 1,100 acres of their 2,800 acre tract for the installation of an approximately $32 million solar farm.
But at least two of the four Authority members present for the meeting gave a cold reception to the project.
Authority members present for the meeting were Terry Stone, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Chairman Jimmy McLeod, Wanda Marchant, Tim Taylor and Rory Chaney. Stone and Marchant appeared dubious of the project.
Gainer opened his presentation by asking if the Authority members had had a chance to review the project and look at the layout, to which he got no reply. Then he asked if anyone would like to look at the site to get an idea and a feel for what the Gainers were doing there.
Gainer pointed out that, unlike Silicon Ranch’s Denton/Snipesville project, there were no county paved roads to maintain as the site is accessible only from dirt roads.
He added that, in the past, the Authority approved a 50% abatement for the same project but when the Gainers submitted a bid to Georgia Power to supply power to the company’s grid, they did not get the bid.
At the time, the Gainers were under a 5-year contract with another solar company but once that contract expired, they went to Nextera Energy, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun.
Gainer explained that earlier this year, the Jeff Davis County Commission, in response to the problems many citizens in the Denton/Snipeville area experienced with the Silicon Ranch project, adopted a land use ordinance to guard against any such problems in the future. The Brooker Field Project, as the Gainers’ project is known, was designed to adhere to the County’s land use ordinance. Because of the ordinance, the Gainers were able to use only 1,100 of their 2,800 acres to be in compliance with the ordinance.
“So, no one is going to be driving by and see solar panels,” Gainer said. “That’s not the way it was designed. We can’t have a bigger project and bid because of the land use ordinance.”
According to Gainer, there are only two homeowners with homes near the Brooker Field Project — Milton Coleman and Stanley Land. Gainer said he had spoken with both Coleman and Land and felt he had gotten Coleman’s blessing on the project but Land’s situation is different.
When Authority member Taylor asked if Nextera Energy would agree to not have any other phases than the 1,100 acre tract, and if is was a “one-and-done” project, Gainer replied, “Absolutely.”
Stone made her feelings about the project known when Gainer asked, “How many people do you think are against (the Brooker Field Project),” and she replied, “I don’t know but I don’t want to be known as the solar capital of the world.”
In other action at the meeting, the Authority heard from Andrew Marsh, with Marsh Real Estate Developers and Brokers, about how his company could assist the Authority with marketing industrial development projects.

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