What happened to Cumberland’s Hecate Solar project?

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, January 24, 2024

What happened to the Hecate Solar project? It was supposed to come before Cumberland County supervisors on Tuesday, Jan. 9 for a public hearing. But even before the meeting itself was postponed due to winter weather, Hecate officials pulled back on their request, asking for more time to work on their proposal. 

“After Hecate’s community meeting in December, they asked (that) the hearing be moved to the board’s March 12 meeting,” Cumberland County Administrator Derek Stamey said. 

He added that the new date, once confirmed, will be publicized in The Herald and new announcements will go out to all the neighbors. Since Hecate requested the change, the company will be required to cover the cost of the new announcements. 

Email newsletter signup

Now when we say Hecate Solar, we’re referring to the proposed site located north of Columbia Road (Route 590) and east of Boston Hill Road (Route 605) in Cartersville. For those not familiar, this would be the northeastern part of Cumberland County. This would also not exactly be a small project. It would cost $175 million, a privately funded 150 megawatt solar farm which company officials estimate will generate power for 37,500 homes in Cumberland. 

When will Hecate Solar present?

Now the dispute stems from how it will appear and the impact it will have on neighbors. Hecate officials say on their website and in their filing the solar farm will be surrounded by a “wildlife-friendly perimeter fence and tree buffers to block most lines of sight”.

Neighbors however point out the noise involved with construction, increased traffic on the roads and concerns they have about damage to both the environment and local wildlife. Hecate officials also argue they followed Cumberland’s current solar policy while putting the design together. As a result, Cumberland’s board of supervisors and planning commission will be taking another look at that solar ordinance, to see if it needs changes.  

“We are looking to schedule that workshop for late January or early February at the latest,” Stamey said.