Markus Wilhelm, founder and CEO of Strata Solar, lead the Chapel Hill-based company in the creation of one of the largest solar farms in North Carolina. On 28 acres in Cleveland County, the Kings Mountain Solar Farm, is comprised of 22,000 panels powering 600 homes. The 5 MW solar farm took about three months to build and created jobs for more than 70 local installers and engineers.
NCSEA's Communications & Government Affairs Specialist, Amneris Solano, spoke with Wilhelm about the company's benchmark project and its success.
The Kings Mountain project was a real milestone for us and has given us cause to reflect on all that we have achieved as a team in the past three years. Strata Solar’s success is based on four important pillars: Environmental focus, workforce development/job creation, team spirit, and a commitment to unsurpassed quality and value.
Strata Solar is 100% vertically integrated and has all the core competencies in-house: Project Development, Financing, Engineering, Procurement, and Construction. We use only the very best suppliers and rely on our highly trained professionals to get every job done right, on time, and on budget. Duke Energy, our partner for Kings Mountain made a point to reference these three points about Strata Solar at the Kings Mountain opening ceremony – nothing could have made us happier.
Tell us more about Strata’s work development programs.
A critical part of our mission is to help develop jobs and long-term skills for the communities that are local to our larger projects. By geographically clustering these projects, we can keep our workforce working and earning. We cooperate closely with local workforce development offices to identify construction workers that have been hard hit by the economic downturn.
Our objective is to recruit, train, and put these individuals back in the field in a new industry that has a bright future. One of our key workforce partners is the Raleigh Business and Technology Center that provided us with access to a large pool of highly skilled young workers in the age group of 18 to 25.