We Can Dig It

At a ground-breaking ceremony for the “Aktina Renewable Power Project” solar farm outside of Danevang Tuesday, (l-r) Tokyo Gas America President Kazuya Kurimoto, TGA Vice President Ken Kirishi, Rosendin contracting Vice President David Lincoln and Rosendin President Paolo Degrassi dig the first scoops of dirt. The project, which is expected to take two years to complete, will consist of 1.4 million solar modules.

Construction of what will be Texas’ largest solar farm began south of El Campo Tuesday, and once the project ramps up, hundreds of locals could be hired to complete the work, project leaders say.

The “Aktina Renewable Power Project” is owned by Japanese gas utility company Tokyo Gas America and California contractor Rosendin is in charge of the project’s construction. Once complete, the solar plant will stretch across 4,800 acres of land and include 1.4 million solar modules.

About 500 people will be employed at the site for one year, with that number tapering at the beginning and end of the project, Rosendin Senior Vice President David Lincoln told the Leader-News Tuesday.

“We plan to hold a job fair here locally to find more workers within about three weeks or so,” Lincoln said.

Project officials estimate the solar project will take about two years to complete, finishing in March, 2022, and it will provide enough energy to power more than 75,000 four-person homes.

TGA, founded in 1885 with its main office in Tokyo, Japan, has oil and gas projects in the U.S. and Mexico, with three located in Texas. The El Campo area project will be the company’s first renewable energy project in the U.S.

“We would like to reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible by 2050,” TGA Senior Vice President Ken Kirishi said.

The company selected the project’s current location based on the amount of wide open space, but also its proximity to Houston and other large Texas cities.

“It’s a balance of finding enough space for the project,” and where the demand for energy is, Rosendin President Paolo Degrassi said.

The company more recently shifted its focus to renewable energy, and company leaders hope to create more projects like the El Campo solar farm.

“Hopefully, there will be more to come,” TGA Manager Philip Steinsmetz said.

The solar project is located off of CR 322 and CR 301.

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