More than one hundred construction workers have been drilling, hammering and measuring aluminum poles into the ground just west of the Porterville airport. They're building one of the largest privately owned solar power plants in California. It's also Southern California Edison's largest plant where the solar panels are placed directly on the ground.
Once complete, the electricity generated from this site will be used for 4,300 homes in Porterville. SoCal Edison says the project will generate clean, and cheap energy because of its convenient location. "We're going to put electricity directly into the neighborhood circuits and thus avoiding the need to build a transmission line to remote areas"
The electricity produced from the more than 29,000 solar panels will go directly across the street to these power lines
SoCal Edison says the solar plant will be up and running before the end of the year, and the project will not interrupt electricity for anyone living nearby. The project also brings temporary work for 125 people in central and Southern California ... including Joe Hopper, who's only had three weeks of work this year. "When the economy bottomed out all the jobs stopped. I'm thrilled to be here. My time out of work was from October 2008 to coming on this job."
Edison is renting the land from the city. City officials hope to use the additional $70-thousand a year in rent to boost their economy.
Porterville city manager, John Lollis said, "The property that is being used by Edison for this solar field is part of our industrial complex is part of the airport area so how can we uh use these funds to further economic development in that area
Southern California Edison hopes to have the project up and running by the end of the year.