NEWPORT — The project hasn’t formally been announced by the developer, but a construction company is already recruiting 200 workers to help build a massive solar energy project in Jackson County.

It will easily be the largest solar farm in Arkansas, and could be among the largest in the nation.

Jon Chadwell, director of the Newport Economic Development Commission, announced Tuesday that Moss & Associates Construction was seeking to hire 10 people this month, 30 in July, 50 in August and the remaining 110 by the end of this year to work on the 1,900 acre project. To date, the largest solar farm in Arkansas is 100 megawatts owned by Entergy Arkansas at Searcy.

To say this is a massive project may be an understatement.

“It’s contiguous to (U.S.) 67 for about four miles,” Chadwell said. “You’re going to drive along and see solar panels for about three or four miles.”

Chadwell said construction on a service road to the property has begun off of Exit 87.

The land had been used for farming rice and soybeans, Chadwell said.

While the project isn’t providing permanent jobs for Jackson County, Chadwell said it will provide permanent benefits to the Jackson County School District and the county through new tax revenues. And it will give frustrated job seekers a career boost, he said.

“These will be 16 to 18 month construction jobs,” Chadwell told The Independent. “We’d love to have 200 permanent jobs, but 200 for 16 to 18 months will pump a lot of money into our economy.

“And then Moss Solar, the construction company, is a Second Chance employer, so they actually employ people with a felony record. That can be significant for folks who’ve had a hard time finding a job because of mistakes they’ve made in the past.”

Chadwell said Moss also likes to hire people right out of high school, so that the company can train workers under their own system.

According to an online job listing, Moss is offering a starting salary of $18 per hour for 12-hour shifts.

The Moss construction office is at 746 Jackson 42 Road, on the north end of the property. Applications can be filed online at:

Michigan-based CMS Solar will operate the plant, Chadwell said. The company hasn’t formally announced the project locally. Efforts to reach the company Tuesday were unsuccessful.

However, a recent article in the Flint Journal reported that a 1,900 acre solar farm in Michigan produces about 239 megawatts, more than twice the size of Entergy’s Searcy plant.