A new Gallup poll found that Americans want the U.S. to focus on developing domestic energy sources. In every region of the country, solar is the alternative energy source of choice. Seventy-six percent of all Americans want more emphasis on solar power. Randall Nixon of Nixon’s Farm is on it.
I interviewed the self-described “Ivy League redneck” in a 19th century Pennsylvania-style bank barn situated on the 163-acre farm purchased by his parents, Roosevelt and Mildred Nixon, in 1956. His parents’ contemporaries laughed and called the purchase “Nick’s Folly.” Randy is having the last laugh. He has entered into a lease agreement with BITHENERGY Inc., a black-owned innovative energy solutions company, to develop the largest privately-owned solar farm in Maryland.
Randy told me:
This is an opportunity to connect up people, to broker relationships, and to get cash moving that will empower the family to hold on to the land while generating wealth for their progeny. For once in history, we’re holding the cards.
Robert L. Wallace, Chief Executive Officer of BITHENERGY, said in a statement:
The Nixon Farm Solar Project is arguably one of the most significant transformational events in Howard County’s history. Not only will this be the largest solar array in Howard County but it will also lead the way for a radical transformation and rethinking of the energy dynamics and renewable energy possibilities for the County.
During his 2013 State of the County address, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman hailed the project as a “model for Maryland”:
The company is planning to build a solar array that will produce enough power for up to 2,000 homes at the historic Nixon’s Farm on Route 32. We partnered with BITHENERGY and BITHGROUP Technologies to amend zoning and facilitate other approvals to make this project a reality. BITHENERGY is showing leadership and vision, designing a project which will save agricultural land from development and produce renewable power.
Back in the day, Nixon’s Farm was “a play farm,” the Glenwood Country Club whose motto was “Keep the faith, baby.”
Over the years, there were some financial setbacks. But Randy kept faith that he would find a way to save the farm:
The energy revolution is providing opportunities for African Americans to restore the land that they’ve been holding onto in the hopes that it would somehow become productive; that it would no longer be a family burden. For once, we’re not at a disadvantage; don’t have to beg for a loan. We’re always looking for cash. The biggest issue we have is access to capital.
This is the beginning of what’s going to happen – solar, wind, geothermal. Environmentalists want to save the land. Entrepreneurs also want to save the land… Entrepreneurship helps pay for environmentalism. They can work together. Cash can save the environment. It’s called capitalism. Adam Smith was right.
Construction on the solar project will begin in June. In the meantime, Randy is looking for investors interested in creating a cooperative for African-American-owned farmland dedicated to alternative energy sources. For more information, contact Randy via email.