By the Randolph Solar Development Team
David Tatum has worked all his life. He has farmed tobacco on his family’s land. He has farmed timber and cattle. Together with his siblings, David owns approximately 200 acres in Charlotte County.
And he’s run a side business leasing vending and gaming machines. But the pandemic has closed about 60% of the restaurants where his machines sit, and cut his income drastically.
“It’s just me working those cattle,” David explains. “Everything I make from them I put back into the land. The timber I planted in 2003—maybe next year that’ll earn $1,000 per acre. You never know. The market gets shaky. It costs me to have someone help clear the trees.”
In January, David will turn 61. He hopes he’ll be able to retire in five years. He wants all that land he’s been working to finally start working for him. With that hope, David is leasing his land to the Randolph Solar Project.
Randolph Solar will place removable solar equipment on farmland like David’s, to start generating electricity as well as income for David and all of Charlotte County. For David, the income will be a retirement safety net, and a well-earned rest from a life of independent hard work.
“I got a hundred acres. I’m not going to be farming it anymore. It needs to be making money somehow.”
David is excited about the solar project and the future of his community. “We’re paying bigger taxes here than other counties do. We can’t stand back and let opportunity pass us by. If we do, Charlotte County won’t ever move ahead.”
And he wants his neighbors to know that he’s not worried about solar panels in his backyard. “No one will see the panels. They’ll sit in the middle of the farm and off the highway.”
“Most of us are retired or retiring,” David says of himself and his neighbors. “We got land we’re not farming. We just want to be taken care of.”
To learn more about Randolph Solar and the benefits to Charlotte County, visit https://randolphsolar.solunesco.com/.
Why is there so much opposition to the solar farms in Charlotte County? I know nothing about the transmission and storage of the electricity generated or the environmental impact but it seems to be a much more environmentally friendly way of making energy than a coal fired plant.