Florida Carpenters Regional Council EST James Banks and UBC Southern District VP Dennis Donahou assisted Council staff in treating our members to lunch recently at the Arcadia Solar Farm installation project in central Florida. The two UBC leaders also talked with the workforce and toured the job site.
Carpenters and pile drivers from the Council are being tapped by the hundreds to bring to life a comprehensive renewable resource initiative by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). FPL is the state’s largest electric utility. Their plan - to dramatically increase the use of solar power using 40 solar farms - launched recently with the construction of eight 74.5-megawatt solar power plants.
Building four of those plants are hundreds of professionals from the FLCRC. At the height of construction, each of the sites will employ 250-300 FLCRC members. Two of the sites are in Hawthorne, and one each is in Arcadia and Vero Beach. There are 200+ carpenters on the Hawthorne and Arcadia farms already, including pile drivers, general applicators, foremen, and safety professionals.
“It’s apparent that the Florida Carpenters are again leading the industry, this time with the installation of solar farms,” said DVP Donahou. “The employer is happy with their productivity and attitude, and the end user is happy with their work product. It’s a positive outcome for everyone involved.”
Expertly staffing the Central Florida project with our best carpenters on a daily basis are Council Representatives Matt Swanson and Nate Warner. Council Representatives Randy Page and Joe Stephens are performing at the same high level in North Florida.
“The Florida Council has been successful in our efforts to secure this current and future work. Our members can look forward to a prosperous and successful solar farm installation campaign,” said EST Banks. “We are performing a multitude of tasks in both pile driving and carpentry, in all facets of these projects. This work will take us through 2017 and into 2018 for hundreds of members who will log thousands of work hours.”
About the Project
These initial eight solar farms will collectively create about 600 megawatts power, which is enough to service 120,000 homes at peak usage times. Using solar power will save customers millions in electrical fees over the lifetime of each farm. FPL’s universal solar energy centers provide zero-emissions power to the grid and are designed to avoid wetlands and minimize any impact on natural surroundings. The panels sit low to the ground, at about 6-to-8 feet high, on racks that fit directly into the soil and do not require any concrete.