ACCIONA Investment Is a Win for Mason County
On August 10, ACCIONA held a ribbon-cutting at its Maysville office at 8 W 2nd Street in Maysville with the Maysville Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce. It was attended by more than 40 locals interested in the project, and allowed us to thank the almost 20 local businesses and organizations that we have worked with since we first announced our plans for a solar energy project with a BBQ catered by the May’s Lick Dinner Bell in March.
Today, we want to share more about the project and about who we are.
ACCIONA Energy is a global renewable energy company that has solar energy projects across the globe. Earlier this year, the company broke ground on its first two solar PV projects in the United States – one in Texas and another in Illinois. By the end of this year, we’re hoping to break ground on our first project in Kentucky.
ACCIONA has been active in the United States for two decades. Our US team is made up of more than 200 employees based throughout our project sites and at our Chicago headquarters.
We’re proud to hire local – from our on-site technicians in South Texas to our construction in Illinois. That commitment will extend to Mason County. Hiring local ensures our employees are rooted in the community. That’s good for us and its good for the communities that we live and work in.
We are also committed to our social impact management program, which re-invests each project’s revenues into the community it operates in. For example, we have helped a school district in Texas build a STEM lab for its middle school students and helped a volunteer fire department buy safety equipment. We’ve awarded more than $250,000 in college scholarships to college students who graduated from schools in our project communities. Our social and environmental responsibilities are central to everything we do. We can make long-term commitments because we are project developer, builder, and operator. When ACCIONA announces a project, it is the start of a decades-long engagement. We are here for the long haul. If anything breaks, we fix it.
The estimated private investment ACCIONA is making in the Mason County project is more than $200M. At peak construction, we estimate, the project will create more than 400 jobs. We estimate an operations team of five to 10 technicians on-site. The project will pay taxes which will support local schools and the county with millions of dollars over the life of the project. Solar energy provides great value because these revenues come without increasing the demand on schools or first responders, the way that other developments like residential sub-divisions do.
Solar generation is a quiet, passive energy source. There are no smokestacks, no discharge, no cooling ponds, no ash pits. Solar panels generate electricity when light strikes silicon cells in the panels. The panels, which are made primarily of common, recyclable elements like silicon, glass, and steel, are fully encased and sealed. Our plan is to use bifacial panels on trackers that follow the sun. This will maximize the output of the panels. The maximum height of the assembly will not exceed 15 feet, making the rows of panels shorter than any home or barn in the area, and making screening possible with plantings. Our engineers will design the project to place inverters so no sound will be audible beyond the project boundary.
Our plan is to use native plantings below the panels. Their deep roots will help with potential stormwater runoff and limit dust by preventing erosion and soil loss. They’ll help pollinators, which are critical to food production, and help recharge and restore the topsoil for possible future uses.
Our agreements with participating landowners were made voluntarily, and we will stand with them every step of the way. There are many reasons landowners choose to join a project, some do it to hold on to a family farm and keep it from being sub-divided, others to support family, or still others to advance clean energy. Whatever the reason, our landowners have been clear – they want to support Mason County.
We hope this answers some questions about our proposal. We want ACCIONA’s private investment in Mason County, and our commitment to community, the environment and job creation through a modern, clean energy project to be a winner for the county.
If you have questions, please stop by our office, call Austin at 606-733-7175, or email us at MasonCountySolar@acciona.com. We’re hoping to be valued neighbors to you now and in the future.
Adam Stratton is the Director of Solar Energy Development with ACCIONA Energy in North America