A former coal strip mine is going to be transformed into a huge solar power plant in Ohio, creating 600 permanent jobs. The 49.9-megawatt project will be developed by New Harvest Ventures and Agile Energy, and the produced energy for the next 20 years will be bought by American Electric Power.
This amount of energy is enough to power 25,000 homes, according to Terri Flora, AEP spokeswoman.
The 239,400-panel solar array is to be called Turning Point, and to help build it, two Spanish companies namely Prius Energy S.L. and Isofoton, have committed to set up factories in Ohio.
According to the governor’s office, Turning Point would be the largest photovoltaic solar array in the United States. The $250 million facility will reach full capacity in 2014, according to AEP Ohio.
The project is going to take place in a former mine adjacent to The Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation area that is home to native and exotic animals, including some on the endangered species list.
“Solar energy has the potential to bring a host of benefits to south-eastern Ohio, including hundreds of new manufacturing jobs and clean energy for hundreds of thousands of rural Ohioans,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
Workers will be trained to work in green jobs, programs that will include the skills to build and maintain solar power operations in nearby Zane State University and Hocking College. Supporting the project is David Wilhelm, a venture capitalist from Ohio’s Appalachian region and a heavyweight in Democratic Party politics.