By Greg Gullberg
February 4, 2013
Hamilton County, FL - Hamilton County will soon be home to one of the biggest Solar Farms in the state of Florida. It will generate enough power for 70,000 homes.
They're already clearing the land on a 450 acre plot in the north west corner of the county. The developing company still has to figure out who's going to buy the power and whether it will be used for homes, businesses or both. Either way though, it's good for the area. The bulk of the supplies will be purchased locally, so the farm will bring dollars and jobs to town.
"It will have a huge impact on the local economy. We are expecting between 200 and 300 jobs during the initial building phase," said Susan Ramsey, Executive Director for the Hamilton Co. Economic Development Authority.
And when it's done, it will create permanent jobs too.
"It could be up to 50 jobs. It depends on who they end up going with to sell their power and the final designs on the solar panels," Ramsey said.
The developer is HERO Solar LLC. They're hoping to contract with "Progress Energy" to light up local communities. But Managing Director Jack Levine says without some financial help from the capital, they may have to sell to major factories instead. That's because Florida has no subsidies for renewable energy on a large scale. HERO is working with the Department of Agriculture in the hope of changing that this legislative session coming this Spring.
Construction of the solar farm should begin in the fall and take the next two or three years.