Stephens Co. BOE Considering New Solar Panel Proposal

The Stephens County school system is heading back to the negotiating table with a company looking to place solar panels on school system property.

On Tuesday, the Board of Education voted 6-1 to allow Superintendent Bryan Dorsey to negotiate with United Renewable Energy of Alpharetta regarding placing solar panels on property owned by the school system that is adjacent to Stephens County High School.

Dorsey said that he will now meet with the company to put together an official lease proposal.

“They have sent back a new proposal for the board to be looking at, a parcel that runs between the High School and Rose Lane and they are asking to lease that,” said Dorsey.

The Stephens County Board of Education has previously rejected two proposals from this same company.

First, the school board voted against placing the panels on the roof of Stephens County High School. Then, the school board turned down a proposal that involved a parcel of land adjacent to the one now being considered.

Dorsey said that United Renewable Energy has added more to its offer and it could have benefits for the school system and the county.

“(They would be) providing the board with some up front funds along with the opportunity for around $6,000 (a year) for 20 years for the lease,” said Dorsey.

He added that the solar panels would also go on the tax digest, creating tax revenue for both the school system and the county.

The school system would not receive any power from the solar panels.

U-R-E would instead sell that power to Georgia Power as part of that company’s solar energy initiative.

This company already runs a similar solar panel farm on land owned by the Stephens County Development Authority on Turner Road.

The Board of Education will have to still approve an official lease agreement before anything becomes official.

Jim Ledford voted against the motion to negotiate.

He said that the school system should not get into the leasing business in this manner.