BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — A 645 acre solar site is coming to Bay County — the first to ever be built in this area.

Duke Energy said this is one of four solar sites that will be built in north Florida and one of 10 that they have committed to build by 2024.

The Bay County Planning Commission approved the new solar site back in March.

“Well I think any time as local government we can help advance some of the priorities of the state or the country of our local community it’s a positive thing so we’re happy to do that any time we can,” said Bay County Planning and Zoning Manager, Timothy Smith.

The solar site will be on E. Callaway Drive in Unincorporated Bay County off Highway 22. Smith said he thinks this location makes sense for the 645 acre solar site.

“It’s out in the rural area,” Smith said. “There’s not a lot of development. Certainly a landowner has a large play in that you have to have a landowner who has large tracks of land and is willing to lease to the applicant. I know Duke Energy has a major transmission line in the area so it made sense for them.”

Construction on the new solar site is set to being in early 2022. Officials with Duke Energy said it could bring hundreds of temporary jobs to our area.

“It is definitely something that will impact that community through the jobs that we hire you know in that area,” said Duke Energy Spokesperson, Ana Gibbs. “We always try to — I’d say that Duke Energy definitely encourages the contractor we work with to hire local.”

Gibbs said their coverage begins in Mexico Beach and ends in Highlands County. She said it’s tough to pinpoint which customers will benefit from this particular solar site.

“Once the solar panels absorb the sun and start creating that energy and transforms it into actual energy, it’s connected to our grid it goes out into the grid and it really serves all 1.9 million customers,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs said their priority is to work with residents and community officials to make sure they’re doing everything they can to be good neighbors. The new solar site will take 9 to 12 months to complete.