In western U.S. states, the manufacturing sector is seen as the lifeblood of the economy. In the past, entire cities would spring up around a single business, such as the car industry.
Support services employing thousands of people developed as part of these “industrial complexes” as they became known, sparking bidding wars between cities and towns, all clamouring for the right to host a company’s factory or processing plant and the jobs they provide.
Florida’s National Solar Power is proving this business model is now working for the renewable energy industry, too. The company has announced a shortlist of seven communities vying to become home to its planned 4000-acre solar farm.
The finalists list of communities includes four in Florida, two in Georgia and one in North Carolina. When construction of the solar farm is complete in six years, it will represent a nearly $1.5 billion investment in the winning community with 400 new clean energy jobs created during the five-year construction phase and a further 120 permanent jobs in operational capacity.
The 400 megawatt (MW) plant will cover a lot of ground – National Solar Power claims that its design of 20 related 200-acre solar farms will make up the largest photovoltaic (PV) generation facility in the world today, creating enough solar electricity to power 32,000 homes.
James Scrivener, CEO of National Solar Power says a final decision on a site for the plant will be made in coming weeks.
“We are excited about the progress we have made in narrowing the search for establishing our groundbreaking solar farm project that will provide a source for renewable energy for consumers while boosting job creation and economic health in the winning community.”