High Country Association of REALTORS News

Welcome to the testing ground for green energy

Appalachian State solar panelRenewable energy has long been a buzzword. In the High Country, it's not just a theory but a budding reality. Two years ago this month, Appalachian State installed a 121-foot wind turbine, which can be seen throughout Boone. There are also solar projects active on campus.

Last week came news that Avery County will be joining the sun fun.

Newland will soon be the site of a 900-kilowatt, $5 million solar power plant that will generate enough power for about 120 homes, developer O2 Energies announced this week.

The North Carolina developer has closed financing on Avery Solar, a plant to be constructed on Henderson Farms, a Christmas tree farm in Newland. Construction of the plant is underway and scheduled to be complete in mid-September, said Joel Olsen, managing director of O2 Energies.

“This power plant is offsetting the electricity that 120 homes would use a year,” Olsen said. “That electricity is going into the grid.”

In terms of comparison, the Appalachian wind turbine generates about 145,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.