National Solar Power announced the company has entered into a developer agreement with Hardee County, Fla. to establish a 200-MW solar farm in the county. This $700 million project will be the company’s second solar farm project with the first being in Gadsden County, Fla. The Hardee County Commission recently approved the agreement.
Additionally, National Solar Power announced the creation of Green Infrastructure Partners LLC to help fund renewable energy infrastructure projects like the solar farms being built in Hardee and Gadsden counties. Green Infrastructure Partners offers a platform for Institutions and Accredited Investors to participate in the inevitable transition to a renewable energy infrastructure in the United States, while enjoying competitive risk adjusted returns on their capital. The company is externally managed and advised by Solar Capital Management LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of National Solar Power Partners LLC.
“Florida is the new frontier when it comes to solar farm development. We are excited about the opportunity to establish a utility-scale solar farm in Hardee County and the creation of Green Infrastructure Partners,” said National Solar Power CEO James Scrivener. “With its ample property available, easy access to the electric grid and nearby population centers, the Hardee County community is a prime location to put solar energy in the region’s power mix. We are pleased to be working in partnership with the county and its economic development team in this venture to tap the power of the sun.”
Ten 200-acre farms are planned at a cost of $70 million each — injecting hundreds of millions of dollars in the Hardee County community. The project site is about three and a half miles from Avon Park Executive Airport on the Holly Hill Grove property.
National Solar Power estimates the project will create 200 jobs during the five-year construction phase and up to 50 permanent operations jobs. National Solar Power expects the farm will have a three-person maintenance crew, an engineer and security personnel for each 20-MW farm and estimates the permanent operations jobs will have an average salary of about $40,000 per year.
“Hardee County welcomes National Solar to the heart of the Sunshine State. This breakthrough approach to photovoltaic energy production and innovative financial structure provides confidence in the project’s success along with affordable and significant energy solutions for everyone,” said Bill Lambert, Hardee County Economic Development Director. “The approach taken by National Solar stands in a unique category indicating a Rosetta Stone solution to effective, efficient solar energy production. We remain excited and eager to assist with the advancement and realization of this project.”
Once the appropriate local and state permitting process is completed, the first phase of the project is expected to be up and running within six to seven months of breaking ground. Hensel Phelps Construction Co., a world leader in construction that rebuilt the Pentagon after the 9-11 attacks in 2001, will design, build and operate the Hardee County solar farm for National Solar Power. The new facility will include a visitor center and an educational program.
National Solar Power is negotiating with multiple large financial institutions and private equity investors to provide project financing. The company has entered into an agreement with Progress Energy Florida and is having discussions with other potential customers to purchase power generated by the Hardee County solar farm project.
Along with the agreement with Progress Energy Florida, National Solar Power has executed power supply agreements for more than 3,000 MW of solar farms in the Southeastern United States. National Solar Power anticipates much of the power produced by the solar farm project will be used for peak shaving — particularly energy production that will occur during the summer months.
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