400-MW Solar Plant Project Picks Florida

The Southwest isn’t the only region in the country looking to build the infrastructure to put its sunny climate to gainful use. National Solar Power (NSP), which earlier this year unveiled its intention of building the world’s largest photovoltaic (PV) solar power, said it has selected Gadsden County, in Florida, for the project.

The project is extraordinarily ambitious, with NSP aiming to build a 400-megawatt (MW) capacity plant that would beat out the current PV kingpin by a magnitude of five. While cast as single entity, NSP has said the project would consist of 20 related 200-acre solar farms, each generating more than 20 MW of power, that would be built in phases. All told, the project is expected to cost some $1.5 billion to build, NSP said.

National Solar Power, Florida

image via National Solar Power

The company said 400 jobs would be created during a five-year construction phase, with up to 120 permanent operations jobs afterward. Each of the 20 plants would have a three-person maintenance crew, an engineer and security personnel,with average salaries of about $40,000 per year.

In addition to Gadsden, NSP had considered sites in Hardee, Osceola and Suwannee counties in Florida; Sumter and Tatnall counties in Georgia; and Guilford County in North Carolina. Understandably, Florda Governor Rick Scott was pleased that his state got the nod. And according to NSP, Governor Scott “strongly encouraged” the company to do the project in Florida.

The company said that once local and state permitting is done, the first phase of the project could be up and running within six months of breaking ground. Hensel Phelps Construction will design, build and operate the solar farms for National Solar Power.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.