Residents in Archer, Florida, Hope to Block Construction of Solar Farm in Historically Black Town

Neighbors of the solar array attended the Archer City Commission meeting on April 12 Photo Courtesy | Alachua Chronicle

In 2020, a determined group of Black residents in Archer, Florida, joined forces to stop the construction of a solar farm plant in their residential neighborhood, which they believed would do more harm than good. But, in 2021, the activists experienced a setback in their plans to block it.

Michelle Rutledge, a community member and activist who lives across from the proposed site, was astonished to learn that the Alachua County commissioners were considering authorizing a 650-acre utility-scale solar power plant on the agricultural land right outside the historically Black town. Rutledge rallied the community members and managed to win a victory by ultimately persuading the Alachua County commissioners to vote against the project.

According to Inside Climate News, the 74.9-megawatt photovoltaic solar facility is called the Archer Solar Project, a collaboration between power companies First Solar and Duke Energy. It would span the 650-acre vacant farmland plot near the Saint Peter neighborhood.

“The first thing I thought of was this is a residential neighborhood. There’s a community here, you know,” said Rutledge in response to the notice.

“This is not a facility that’s compatible with the residential community,” she added.

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SOURCE: Black Enterprise, Atiya Jordan