Need a job? This Merced County project offers hundreds

The construction of a solar array on more than 2,700 acres outside of Los Banos that’s estimated to create about 400 local construction jobs is set to kick off on Thursday.

Peninsula Clean Energy, which provides power to all of San Mateo County and its cities, hired Clenera LLC to build the 200-megawatt solar panel project southwest of where Highway 152 and Interstate 5 meet, according to Jan Pepper, Peninsula’s CEO.

As part of the agreement with Merced County, Clenera is required to recruit employees and get as much of its building materials as possible from Merced County, Pepper said.

“We’re excited to have it there. It’s a great solar resource,” she said. “We’re excited to create a lot of good jobs in that area.”

The energy generated by the project would go to homes and businesses in San Mateo, she said. An office about five miles away in Santa Nella would coincide with the completion of the project about a year from now.

The Merced County Board of Supervisors approved the project on grazing land in March 2015, records show.

The solar array represents an important economic investment in the county, according to Mark Hendrickson, director of community and economic development for Merced County.

“This project which will add hundreds of construction jobs in the community, it will bring in millions of dollars of new tax revenues for community benefit and will greatly enhance the effort to make our state and region more environmentally sustainable,” he said in a statement.

The company also estimates the project could bring in as much as $6 million in tax revenue to the region.

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