The sunny fields of western Flagler have been used for generations to grow potatoes, pine and other crops. But soon, they may sprout rows of something new: Hundreds of thousands of solar panels.
"The solar site’s operation will be quiet, environmentally friendly and unobtrusive. ... We stand strongly in support of it."
—GREG BLOSÉ, president and CEO, Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce
Florida Renewable Partners wants to transform 155 acres of agricultural land just east of the Flagler County/Putnam County line north of State Road 100 and just south of St. Johns County into a solar energy panel field. FRP, like Florida Power and Light, is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy.
“Solar energy facilities are one of the most sustainable energy sources in Florida,” FRP stated in its application to the county government for the special use permit needed to build the solar facility. “The development of this site into a solar energy facility will help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by adding clean energy back into Florida’s electric grid.”
The site would be known as FRP Tupelo Solar.
The proposal is expected to go before the county’s planning board in September and has the support of the Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“We strongly support Florida Renewable Partners’ (FRP) latest solar project — FRP Tupelo Solar,” chamber President and CEO Greg Blosé wrote in a June 28 letter addressed to the county administrator and County Commission. “... During construction, the project is expected to generate an estimated 200 jobs for the area. ... Once the site is complete, the county will continue to enjoy the benefits of increased tax revenue.”
Blosé noted that the site is expected to run with few staff members and therefore have no real impact on traffic, and won’t be visible to passers-by on public roads: The property is surrounded by farmland and accessible only by private roads, and panels will only be about 9 feet high.
“This use is one of the least intrusive uses that is allowable within the agriculture zoning district,” FRP stated in its application materials.
The county government’s Comprehensive Plan explicitly encourages green development, a fact FRP Tupelo noted in its application package.