PULASKI COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) – Groundbreaking ceremonies on Thursday marked the start of the next phase of a solar farm project that is so big, it’s simply called Mammoth, and it’s being touted as the largest in the nation.
“Well, we like the pole position in Indiana, we like to race, and we like to win,” said Governor Eric Holcomb, (R-Ind.) “Today’s a winning day for Pulaski County.”
The Starke County section of Mammoth began in November of last year. Today, acres and acres of farm fields there were filled with solar panel support poles.
The Mammoth footprint in Starke County will total 4,000 acres, the Pulaski County portion will add 3,500 more. Plans for future phases bring the total acreage of the farm up to 13,000.
“And it also catapults Indiana to a top five state in the United States of America for the delivery and production of clean energy,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers. “How about that?”
While the project is not without opposition, Doral Renewables today was praised for being a good neighbor and praised for the creation of a showpiece.
Only 20 percent of the project footprint will actually sport solar panels.
“We don’t cut down trees, we leave the wetlands intact, if there’s a sensitive habitat area, we don’t touch it,” explained Doral CEO and President Nick Cohen. “There will be sheep grazing, there will be what we call Agri voltaic, different crops are grown around and sometimes between panels. Today we were giving out solar popcorn. We grew popcorn on the margins of the project.”
Cohen says phase two of the Mammoth project will create 400 new jobs over the next two years with 75 to 80 percent of the labor being local.
Doral will also pay Pulaski County Government $40 million over the next 20 years.
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