Education to Energy: From Colonial Times to Our Bright Future
October 25, 2012
It’s a showcase of diversity this week with a focus on education and energy in Franklin County. Our first highlight is the celebration of the opening of our first solar farm in Bunn this week.
Solar modules and grazing sheep, ewes and power lines, sustainable energy and sustainable agriculture converge on a 46-acre field just 30 miles east of Raleigh at the 4.5 MW Bunn Solar Farm. This is a multi-million dollar project developed by North Carolina based O2 Energies, Inc. in combination with many partners, including Franklin County and the Town of Bunn, with cooperation from local farmers and the local Bunn High School. On display, will be over 30 works of art from students at the Bunn High School art class exemplifying their interpretations of clean energy production.
The local Clover C Farm is one example of local farm partnership with the project. They will use the solar farm for pasture to add to their existing sheep farm where they raise over 500 hormone and antibiotic-free sheep and lambs. O2 Energies will benefit from reduced maintenance costs and associated emissions since the sheep will manage the vegetation in, around and under the solar array.
And that is just the beginning. The farmers are exploring more agricultural uses for the Bunn Solar Farm envisioning a multi-dimensional farm operation raising broiler chickens, blackberries, bees, and other possible crops. The partners’ ultimate goal is to create a model for future collaborative efforts that marry solar energy production and agriculture that can be replicated throughout the Southeast.
Next, it’s living history for the students at Franklinton Elementary. Entitled “The North Carolina Hearth”, students will visit a site where colonial bread making, cooking and blacksmithing are all occurring in a recreated outdoor colonial area at the McGhee Farm in Franklinton. They will see the tools and methods used in colonial times for cooking and blacksmithing and even get to sample some of the colonial food. This is made possible by the work of the McGhee family, the Ben Franklin Society and the United Way.
So, whether it’s new ways to produce energy or new ways of learning about history, Franklin County offers both this week!
Author: Richie Duncan, Existing Industry Coordinator, Franklin County Economic Development