FVSU solar panel project gives energy to farmers with limited utility access

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FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Students at Fort Valley State University are gaining hands-on experience with renewable energy.

FVSU is working with Georgia Power to bring solar panels to the campus. This may help those with limited utility access.

According to engineer technology professor Cedric Ogden, FVSU’s solar project may be one of the largest solar operations in the country.

The space on the south side of the Fort Valley State University campus is an open field. Soon, solar panels will occupy the space and there will be an outdoor classroom lab.

“We plan to create a program that educates students into a curriculum that focuses on renewable energy and sustainability. This will be just one outfit in the whole scheme of everything. We’re looking at ways to access of providing different ways of utilizing your land through land lease agreements through solar operations to reduce your energy costs,” he said.

Dr. Ogden says this site will give students the full experience of how solar energy works.

“From the ground level, as far as installing solar panels also having them to understand our utility grids. Being able to provide power onto those utility grids through net metering off-grid solar operations and on-grid solar operations,” Dr. Ogden said.

Georgia Power is installing more than 100 acres of solar panels. The program will also impact the community.

Dr. Ogden says prices for soybeans, tobacco, corn and other crops fluctuate constantly. The solar energy received from the panels will help keep money in their pockets.

“A lot of farmers and landowners, problems that they’re having right now is being able to make a profit on their land to a point where it’s profitable for them to be able to sustain that and make a living for their families,” he said.

The project begins in July and finished early next year.

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Tanya comes all the way from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a city girl that’s excited to be a part of Middle Georgia’s community and tell your stories! She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She also spent a few semesters studying at San Diego State University. While in college, she interviewed Joan Rivers before she passed away, was on the red carpet for the movie premiere of “Chiraq” and also interned with ABC7’s investigative reporters and Bill Kurtis. Tanya spent nearly 2 years reporting in Billings, Montana where she covered a lot of politics and agriculture. In her spare time, Tanya is a sports fanatic, so even though the Chicago Bears and Bulls didn’t know how to win this season, she still roots for them. You can guarantee you’ll run into her at the gym every day. If you do, stop by and say hi! Share your stories with her and don’t be surprised if she’s hiding chocolate chip cookies in her gym bag.