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New Solar Project Set

A new investment is coming to the Francisco community, which goes just beyond renewable energy.

Posted: Sep 10, 2020 9:24 PM
Updated: Sep 11, 2020 8:37 AM

The big battle over wind energy in Gibson County ended with the company behind the turbines pulling the plug on the project.

But it doesn't mean clean energy is off the table.

A new project planned in Gibson County will bring more than an energy boost to the community.

Multi-national companies have taken a shine to the town of Francisco.

"Very exciting news," said Paul Waters, who serves as CEO and President of Gibson County Economic Development Corporation. "The firm Tenaska is a solar company that has come into town, and they have leased up a lot of raw land around the county and are going to put in a solar farm."

Much of that land surrounds and lies to the southeast of Francisco along Indiana 64 and stopping short of I-69.

An energy project that's still in the making, but one local leaders expect will look similar to one in Vanderburgh County from Vectren near North High School.

Gibson County's economic leaders see it as a bright spot during some dark economic times the wake of the pandemic.

"Construction jobs, it's going to be great for about a year and a half for the construction project," Waters added.

Plus, a few more opportunities for full-time work over the 35-year life of the project.

It's a way to usher in the next generation of power:

"Its important to have renewable energy. We also want the coal industry to survive also, but it's also important to have the solar energy," said Waters.

But a focus on the future in Gibson County comes in many forms, as Alan Bottoms--who lives just down the street from one of the preliminary sites--shared alongside his granddaughter Camille.

"It doesn't bother me that we're going to alternative energies. I'm all for that," he explained. "As far as it goes being in our backyard, we have some concerns with property values and things like that."

The solar panel project is slated to break ground in early 2022, come online for the first time in early 2023.

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