To the average eye, there is only one empty plot, 25 acres of grass blowing in the wind. But for Jordan Energy and Food CEO Bill Jordan, it’s a possibility.
He plans to make the plot in Utica a power source for the city of Trenton by using solar panels.
“It will give the farmer some extra income, and it will help people with low and moderate incomes to access the community’s solar energy that would otherwise pay more for their power,” Jordan said.
For a farmer like Scott Collins, whose family has owned the land since 1911, the decision to give back to his community was one he did not have to consider for long. The only problem is that this project should already be underway.
But a U.S. Department of Commerce investigation into whether China circumvents U.S. tariffs by moving solar energy resources through Southeast Asian countries has halted imports of many essential solar components, pushing back the timeline for projects like this.
“It was meant to be built in 2022. We’re not sure if it’s going to happen now because of this case and the strains in the supply chain that are being felt across the industry,” Jordan said.
The impact of the investigation has spread across the country. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, at least 300 solar energy projects are already delayed. More than 100,000 U.S. jobs could be lost if the investigation continues, with an estimated $ 52 billion in investment at risk.
Jordan said it was disappointing to see an industry that saw more than 25% growth in the past year stopped by an investigation.
“Who can argue with the lowest power costs and the cleanest power for our environment? You do not have to argue about it. Just adopt it and create the jobs that come with it,” Jordan said.
Jordan’s company has built 83 photovoltaic systems in its 13-year history. When he checks one of his first solar energy projects, he points to the panels and says that they should be located along the 25 hectares on Collins farm this year.
But until the investigation subsides, or the US invests more in its own solar energy production, the growth of renewable energy is on hold.
“We can have a cleaner environment, we can have lower cost power and we can create employment for people in our own society,” Jordan said. “It is; it is a victory.”