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National Solar Power Unveils $1.5-Billion Project in Florida

National Solar Power has announced it will build up to 20 solar energy farms in in Gadsden County, FL, investing about $1.5 billion to generate 400 megawatts of electricity at the sites.

The Melbourne, FL-based company chose Gadsden over Hardee, Osceola and Suwannee counties. Also, it earlier considered building in Georgia and North Carolina. The company plans to sell the power to Progress Energy Florida and possibly other utilities. Chief Executive Officer James Scrivener said the project will create 400 jobs during construction and another 120 permanent jobs after the facilities are built.

National Solar Power says the project will be the largest in the Southeast. The concept is to build 20 solar farms on 200-acre sites across the largely rural North Florida county, with each farm producing 20 megawatts of energy. National Solar Power expects to break ground on the first site during the first three months of 2012. It is negotiating to buy and lease land, applying for environmental permits and securing financing.

Scrivener said the company likely will announce another project in Hardee County and ultimately hopes to build in other areas of the state. Gadsden County political leaders and state lawmakers joined company officials for Monday’s announcement.

“This is what you call smart growth and development,” Gadsden County Commission Chairwoman Sherrie Taylor said.

Scrivener said the project will be privately financed but that the company could seek state help with issues such as permitting and property taxes. He said officials met with Gov. Rick Scott, who indicated he would help speed up a Department of Environmental Protection permitting process.

 

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