Updated 06/29/2011 07:20 AM
World's largest solar farm could be coming to the Triad
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YANCEYVILLE, N.C. – There was big business news Tuesday for one Piedmont community as a Florida based solar power company announced it could be opening the world's largest solar farm right in the heart of the Triad.
As technology continues to grow and material prices drop, more and more solar farms can be found around around the state like the one in Caswell County
"One you have the, government mandates, state government mandates. Two, good solar resources, and three a customer base that's open to accepting solar,” said Justin Gravatt of MegaWatt Inc.
And that's exactly what's now helped Guilford County become one of just seven communities nationwide to be named a finalist to house the World's Largest Solar Farm.
"Your community has done a magnificent job of building its brand, not just in North Carolina not just regionally, but even nationally as a great community with a high quality of life, with a caring population, with great resources, and with a welcoming economic climate," said National Solar Power spokesperson Ron Sachs.
Right now, the world's largest project is an 80 mega-watt facility in Ontario, Canada. But National Solar Power is now looking to build 20, 200 acre farms that would equal a 400-mega watt, 4,000 acre project.
"Basically, 400 mega-watts would be adequate to provide power to about 32,000 homes," Sachs added.
The news was a surprise to economic leaders in Guilford County who say if the county is named the host community, it could be a big boost to the local economy, bringing about a number of jobs to the Piedmont Triad.
"Approximately $1.4 billion investment, could create as many as 400 jobs during the construction phase over the next six years and then about 120 permanent jobs," said Greensboro Economic Development Alliance Dan Lynch.
Four counties in Florida and two in Georgia have also been selected as finalist, but leaders here say they're going to do their best to bring the business to the Triad.
"We're very pleased to be in that grouping, but now the hard work begins. We've got to roll up our sleeves, find out exactly what we're going to have to put in front of the company so we will be the successful community at the end of the process" Lynch added.
Sachs says the company will now aggressively complete their research and screening with the remaining communities, and hope to make an announcement by the end of July or early August.