SJC solar farm inches closer to approval, seeks local workers

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 5:47 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - The financial viability of a proposed $165 million solar farm project in St. Joseph County is under review.

The focus is on what’s being built, and who will build it.

“Originally, I think, when we priced the project out, we weren’t taking into account using union labor necessarily,” Lightsource BP development manager Darrin Jacobs told 16 News Now.

Lightsource BP does solar projects all around the world, but is apparently being asked to think local when it comes to hiring in St. Joseph County.

Lightsource is behind Project Honeysuckle which calls for building a 1,000-acre solar farm in Olive Township.

“From the very beginning, some of the feedback we received was, they wanted a high percentage of local labor used for this project. So, the company committed today to using 75-percent local labor for the project. So, I think that’s a great concession and it’s a great win for the citizens and employees of St. Joe County.

The local hiring commitment was good enough to win project approval from the St Joseph County Commissioners at a meeting today, but the final approval must come from the St. Joseph County Council.

While Jacobs says he has full confidence the project will move forward, that relies on decreasing costs in other areas to keep Project Honeysuckle financially viable.

“You know, there’s no, you know, opposition as far as Lightsource BP is concerned with using union labor. I mean, we’re happy to use anybody who is skilled and qualified. It’s just a matter of making sure that we still kept our budget, you know, understanding that wages are probably a little bit higher,” Jacobs said.

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