Six solar fields await Sussex council action

Large 75-megawatt project already approved on 351 acres near Milford city limits
January 29, 2023

Solar farms are rapidly becoming another cash crop for Sussex County farmers. Over the past two years, three solar projects have been approved, another six are pending a decision by Sussex County Council and another was introduced during council's Jan. 20 meeting. All of the projects are located on farmland.

In Sussex County, conditional-use applications are required because solar farms are not a permitted use in AR-1, agricultural-residential, zoning.

The largest project to date was approved in 2022. Freeman Solar has plans to construct a 75-megawatt solar farm with 166,500 panels on 10 parcels totaling 351 acres on Calhoun Road near Milford.

Two other projects have been approved:

• Broom Solar Partners – 3 megawatts on 35 acres on the north side of Frankford School Road near Pyle Center Road near Frankford

• Heimlich Solar Partners – 4.5 megawatts with 16,000 solar panels on 35 acres on the east side of Mile Stretch Road and near the Delaware Electric Cooperative facility near Greenwood. Many of the proposed solar fields will provide power to the cooperative.

Pending are:

• Sunrise Solar, 5.8 megawatts on 33 acres on the north side of Fleatown Road and the west side of Clendaniel Pond Road south of Milford

• Community Power Group LLC – 25 acres on the north side of Woodland Ferry Road west of Seaford

• Community Power Group LLC – 25 acres on the north side of Route 16 east of the Route 113 intersection.

At its Jan. 12 meeting, the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of three applications. Sussex County Council has scheduled a hearing on the applications at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 21, in the county administration building, 2 The Circle Georgetown.

• Turning Point Energy – 3 megawatts on 27.5 acres on the west side of Elks Road near Hearns Pond north of Seaford

• Turning Point Energy – 25 acres on the west side of Gravel Hill Road north of the Route 9 intersection near Georgetown

• Turning Point Energy – 35 acres on the east and west sides of Trap Pond Road near Laurel adjacent to an existing solar farm.

Planning & zoning conditions imposed on solar farms include perimeter fencing with a locked gate with an emergency key box, downward-screened security lighting, a 32-square-foot sign with operator contact information, a decommissioning plan and vegetated buffers along areas with existing homes.

Introduced at council's Jan. 10 meeting was a request by Sussex CSG 1 LLC for a solar farm on a 21-acre parcel on the south side of Old Stagecoach Road near Delmar.

Already in use are a 1.57-megawatt project on the site of the Allen Harim Foods processing plant built in 2011 in Harbeson and a 400-panel solar field built in 2011 by Sussex County adjacent to the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center.

Also proposed is a 2.4-megawatt solar farm on property owned by the Sandhill Fields sports complex off Sand Hill Road in Georgetown.


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