RICHLANDS, N.C. (WNCT) – A major solar farm could be coming to Onslow County in the near future.  

This comes after a close vote during the most recent Board of Commissioners meeting. Commissioners voted to rezone a thousand acres located along Five Mile Road to eventually construct the solar farm. But it didn’t get passed without concerns being raised first.  

“I’m not against solar energy. But I’ve got concerns about number one to decontamination. Everything I’m hearing is still based on its infant stages. And we really don’t know because we haven’t gone 25 years,” said Onslow County Commissioner Robin Knapp. 

The senior project developer with Cypress Creek Renewables, Harrison Cole, responded to these concerns at the meeting. 

“These solar projects have been around for 20-30 years, and there have been no signs of soil contamination. I mean this technology has been around since the early 70s. You know, it’s the same technology that NASA uses for their spacecraft,” said Cole.  

Cole told 9OYS the farm will have a vegetative buffer to help it blend in with the surrounding area. He added it also has the potential to power over 14,000 homes and offset about 80,000 tons of CO2. 

“The next steps for us are going to be continuing to do all the kind of typical development work for this project, which includes completing surveys, looking at the subsurface of the soil at this site as well, and then working with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to get approval from them as well,” said Cole. 

Chairman Tim Foster voted in favor of the rezoning and shared his thoughts.  

“It does give an opportunity to create some more energy sort of resources or sources here in Onslow County, and in the end is going to create some a little stronger tax base coming from that property with the value of that property going up. And that’s going to benefit the citizens as a whole,” said Foster.  

Cypress Creek Renewables officials said they hope to be up and running by the end of 2026.