The largest free-standing solar project in the Southeast is making its way to middle Georgia. That's according to First Solar, the company with plans to build massive energy field.
Kelvin Lewis, the Twiggs County administrator, said the power purchase agreement between Georgia Power and First Solar will bring around 400 construction jobs to the region.
"We expect to have a number of construction-related jobs, trucking, infrastructure here and entrepreneurship jobs," Lewis said.
He said they are currently making sure that the residents are equipped with the tools they need for the job.
"We are developing, sure, we are developing technical and skilled labor here so that our citizens can take advantage of those employment opportunities that are available," Lewis said. "From a secondary standpoint, a number of our merchants from housing and food service are really going to find a boost in their actual growth and sales side."
Those jobs will start when construction begins on the 2,000-acre lot in November. When complete, the new plant will have over a half million solar panels. According to First Solar, this plant is expected to bring in enough electricity for about 30,000 Georgia households.
“This is a tremendously exciting opportunity for First Solar to demonstrate our capability to develop solar assets in the Southeast and help Georgia Power meet the renewable energy needs of its customers,” Kathryn Arbeit, First Solar's vice president of project development said."
And for locals like 30-year-old Antonio Clay, it's also an exciting job proposition. Clay grew up in Twiggs County and said he's looking forward to the new opportunities that the solar plant could bring to his hometown.
"The solar panel is better than burning oil, gas, and all of this type of fuel that we've been burning," Clay said. "That will be great for the city that we'll have something like that to fall back on because you never know what can happen out here."
In the past year, Clay said he's done yard work and other jobs to make ends meet, but the new plant could open a new door.
"Hopefully, that will be my opportunity to find new work," he said. "I will be on the ball once I get this job under my wing."
The solar plant should be up and running by 2019.