Solar farm

Pine Gates Renewables is bringing 13 mid-size solar farm projects to Greenwood County, the North Carolina-based solar developer announced Friday..

The solar farms will have a combined capacity of 25.5 megawatts — enough to power nearly 5,000 homes — and will join the existing 16 Pine Gate projects in the state.

Building the solar farms will be staggered across three years, with construction beginning on the first three in the early part of this year.

Details of the $30 million investment, codenamed “Project Augusta,” were discussed in September when Greenwood County Council voted to approve the fee-in-lieu-of-taxes arrangement that involved a master agreement with the Asheville company and subsidiary pacts with 12 smaller entities.

During the past three years, officials have taken steps to prepare the county for growth in the industry. In January 2017, the county’s solar guidelines were changed to allow homeowners with southern-facing structures to obtain a special use exception allowing for the installation of panels on the front roof.

Solar is a growing industry in South Carolina. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, there are nearly 3,000 solar jobs in the state.