Fire station gets lift from Holocene Clean Energy

Published 2:10 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2019

By Jamie Ruff

The Charlotte Gazette

The Charlotte Court House Volunteer Fire Department will get much-desired improved accessibility for fire trucks thanks to an assist from a solar developer.

Holocene Clean Energy, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, recently announced that it will fund improvements to the area surrounding the Charlotte Court House volunteer fire station.

The project has been identified as a high priority by the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors, and the improvements will include a concrete driveway and asphalt for the currently rock and gravel parking and staging area.

Fire Chief and Deputy Sheriff Chris Russell said the contribution effectively frees up money for much-needed fire equipment, reduces ongoing maintenance expense, and improves safety at the fire station and in Charlotte County.

“It will help a ton,” he said. “This project will keep us from having to keep buying rock, which has been a problem, especially in the recent wet weather. It will keep everything clean and will look a whole lot better. Also, when it snows, we will be able to clear it all off more easily.”

With the parking and staging area currently rock and gravel, advocates note that slows trucks as they pull from the station during emergencies, especially in inclement weather.

The station was completed in late 2017 with the volunteer firefighters doing much of the work on the station themselves, but budgetary concerns prompted the compromise on the staging and parking areas in the final design.

Gary Walker, a former volunteer firefighter whose last term as chairman of the county’s board of supervisors ended this past Dec. 31, said the project is welcomed.

“When we started, we needed about $60,000,” he said. “I know the volunteer firefighters work very hard doing their training, and the equipment is very expensive. We thought it would be a good project for Holocene as they were coming into the community.”

Meanwhile, Holocene Chief Financial Officer Stan Allison said the people of Charlotte County have made the company feel very welcomed and they wanted to give something to the community.

“We knew we wanted to help the county somehow, and when Supervisor Walker informed us of the importance of the project, we thought it would be a great way to fulfill our intention,” he said.

In 2015, Holocene began development on Twittys Creek Solar, LLC, a solar farm located along state Route 59 outside Drake’s Branch. Construction on the project is set to start in a few months.

Holocene boasts that it is building the foundation for the future of solar power supply, battery storage and delivery.

“We are an industry leader in developing scalable solar generation and storage project portfolios to reduce dependency on traditional fuels, increase grid reliability, and improve efficiency of power delivery,” a press release from the company said. “By using distributed generation, we allow commercial and industrial power consumers to procure renewable energy at competitive prices, while providing meaningful benefits to local communities hosting our generation facilities.”