Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Super sexy solar all over the place!

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 9:26 AM

I'm in the middle of the desert on my way to Tahoe to snowboard, and I've stumbled upon something intense.

Ivanpah Solar Power Facility is freakin' huge. It'll be the second largest solar power facility in the world when it opens. More importantly, the facility serves as a model for what we could have in Charlotte. Sure, we're not in the desert, but we're certainly not without land and sunshine all the same.

Ginormous* is the scientific term, by the way:

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What the heck is going on out here, in the middle of literally nowhere, that we're missing in N.C.? Or, rather, what's going on out here that we shouldn't be missing out on in North Carolina? We're missing out on solar. That's what.

A quick run of the numbers shows we're not getting the jobs it creates, the power solar produces, or the thousands of tangential benefits of supply chain fortification huge projects like this produce - which is pretty depressing if you ask me (which you didn't, but still.)

1,000+ jobs at the peak of the plant's construction
86 permanent jobs
$3 billion (with a B) dollars of economic stimulus

(Fun-ish fact: A measly 10KW or 1,300 average sized homes' worth of solar power is being generated right now by Duke Energy owned facilities according to the their website whereas Ivanpah will produce 392KW and will have enough to power Las Vegas for up to 15 hours in its reserves when it's up and running.)

Crescent Dunes benefits (loosely pulled together from their website):
600 development and construction jobs skilled and semi-skilled labor, 90 percent local residents
45 full-time, permanent operations jobs
120 to 130 engineering/technical positions retained in nearby cities
35 management and engineering jobs at the actual plant location
4,300 indirectly induced jobs in the supply chain including manufacturing, value-added services and transport of the equipment

Needless to say, I'm wondering now how we can get way, way, way more solar back home in Charlotte. Anyone have ideas? If you've got them, leave them in the comments!

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