Martin County Solar Project kicks off with plans to bring hundreds of construction jobs

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Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 6:15 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2023 at 6:36 PM EDT
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INEZ, Ky. (WYMT) - The Martin County Solar Project is years in the making.

Savion Energy, Edelen Renewables, Overland Contracting, and other partners joined in Inez Thursday for a job fair that brought hundreds of skilled workers to the Collier Center for a chance to get on the ground floor of the construction of the new project.

Director of Development for Savion Erich Miarka said the show of support from the people in the community means everything since the community buy-in is crucial in the company’s success.

“A few key ingredients: You have to be able to sale your power, first of all. That’s where Toyota comes in. You have to be able to access the grid. That’s where Kentucky Power comes in,” said Miarka. “You have to have a willing community that’s willing to accept the project.”

The companies announced plans to open up 40 construction jobs by the end of the month and up to 350 by February. County Judge-Executive Dr. Lon Lafferty said it gives the local workforce the spotlight.

“The folks of Appalachia have been at the forefront of energy development for our entire history,” said Lafferty. ”They see it also as an opportunity. Opportunity for themselves and their families and their communities. A chance to stay here.”

Officials say the transition to a new energy is not only a big step for the region, but it could be the biggest step in solar energy for any coal town.

”It says a lot about the concept of coal to solar and it also says a lot about how eager people are to seize new economy opportunities,” said Edelen Renewables CEO Adam Edelen. “We’re talking about the largest coal to solar project in the United States, potentially.”

Those involved say it takes a lot to plant the panels, saying the new site would not be possible without Kentucky Power’s partnership and Toyota purchasing the power banked by the program.

Potential job openings and more information can be found here.