By: Reema Amin
Daily Press, July 13, 2016
Construction has begun on what will be Isle of Wight’s first solar farm, but officials are still looking to fill half of the jobs that are needed to complete the facility by December.
Between 100 and 120 jobs were still available as of Wednesday to help build Woodland Solar, according to Daisy Pridgen, spokeswoman for Dominion Power Virginia. The $44 million project is owned by Dominion Virginia Power and will take root at the corner of Woodland and Longview drives over 200 acres of Oliver Farms.
The 19-megawatt facility, which would power nearly 5,000 homes, received a certificate of approval from the State Corporation Commission on June 30, according to SCC documents.
SCC approval is required because Dominion is a regulated utility and must prove to the state that its projects are in the best interest of its customers. Woodland Solar was one of three projects the SCC approved last month, according to a press release from Dominion on Wednesday. The others are in Powhatan and Louisa counties.
Together, the projects will call for 800 construction jobs, Dominion said, 200 of them at the Isle of Wight facility.
Georgia-based Amec Foster Wheeler is responsible for the facilities’ construction and had a hiring fair in Smithfield on June 21. People who didn’t make it there can still apply online at http://opp-inc.org/for-career-seekers/jobs-board/#s=1 or on Amec Foster Wheeler’s website, https://amecfw.quickbase.com/db/bjvx24f3w?a=dbpage&pageID=2, Pridgen said.
Jobs on both sites have been posted for a few months.
Amec Foster Wheeler is looking for electricians, carpenters, cement finishers, solar panel installers, heavy equipment operators and general laborers for the three facilities. Experience is a plus but not necessary – there will be on-the-job training, Pridgen said.
Construction is estimated to take six months, according to Dominion. All three projects are supposed to be completed and running by December, Pridgen said.
Tom Elder, the county’s director of economic development, said 200 temporary jobs won’t have a major impact on Isle of Wight, but the project as a whole is beneficial.
“It doesn’t generate a lot of tax revenue for the county, but it’s a feel-good thing to use solar energy,” Elder said.
Dominion’s goal is to develop 400 megawatts of solar energy in the state by 2020, according to its release.
Amin can be reached by phone at 757-247-4890.