A dream deferred

The Southwestern U.S. has dominated the world of utility-scale solar projects over the past few years, with news of deals being signed for solar-power plants as large as 1 gigawatt or more.  But now the Southeastern U.S. looks like it will soon be home to one of the world’s largest solar projects, a 400-megawatt photovoltaic farm being built by National Solar Power, LLC.

The next question is where.  The company has vetted a total of seven sites in three states, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, as potential hosts for the ambitious project.  They say the sites must meet certain criteria:


Having enough undeveloped land to put this farm in (ideally 4,000 acres contiguously) but because the Southeast doesn’t have the same relatively unused land resources as the Southwest, the company is looking at a different approach.  Creating the world’s largest solar farm that could be made up of as many as 20 different fields.  


Appropriate economic development strategies, such as tax incentives that could include federal, state and local incentives, and financial partners.  


Community support, and  


A qualified work force.  

The five-year build out project is projected to cost roughly $1.5 billion.

The 1,000 megawatt Blythe Solar Power Project in California that broke ground last month is projected to create 1,000 direct jobs during construction phases and 200 permanent positions. It will also create 7,500 indirect jobs throughout the country.

So many of these opportunities are passing Texas by because the state had failed to provide incentives for them to come here.  Fortunately, Texas has some large cities with municipally owned utilities that are seeing the advantages to their communities both in terms of jobs, the ability to lure other associated industries (like PV manufacturing) to their cities, and the stablelization of their peak electric demand by investing in rooftop and utility scale solar and other renewable sources of power.