Benson Solar clears early environmental review in North Carolina

Government regulators in North Carolina have apparently not turned up any environmental issues that should block Benson Solar Farm LLC from receiving a certificate to construct a solar project of about 5 MW in Johnston County, N.C.

“The above referenced environmental impact information has been reviewed through the State Clearinghouse under the provisions of the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act,” according to documents filed by the State Department of Commerce with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC).

“Because of the nature of the comments, it has been determined that no further State Clearinghouse review action on your part is needed for compliance with the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act,” letter states.

Benson Solar Farm LLC is seeking to build a roughly 5 MW (4.996-MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) power unit.

“Based on the information provided, several of our agencies have identified permits that may be required,” State Clearinghouse Coordinator Crystal Best said in the letter.

“The agencies have offered some valuable guidance to be performed prior to application submittals and ground disturbance which will help to minimize impacts to the natural resources, aquatic and terrestrial wildlife resources within and around the project area,” Best said. “The comments are attached for the applicant’s review.”

The facility would be located at 280 Benson Hardee Road, north of Benson. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said in its comments that tributaries to the Mingo Swamp flow both along the eastern and western boundaries of the proposed site. The wildlife commission went on to recommend that the developers establish a minimum 100-foot native forested buffer along each side of the perennial steams and a 50-foot buffer along each side of the intermittent streams.

The solar facility is currently expected to be connected to existing utility lines. The case is Docket #SP-7068 Sub 0.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at