Pikeville, Kentucky has a population of 6,700.
Ross Harris Group, or RH Group, is a coal company headquartered in Pikeville. Ryan Johns is RH Group's vice president of business development.
RH Group is converting 700 acres of land, previously used to mine coal, into a solar farm.
The future farm is divided into two sections. This area was mined over a decade ago and is covered in tall grass.
This section was mined more recently and has a lot of exposed dirt and rock.
The solar farm is a short drive from Pikeville's city center.
Coal has been a significant industry in the Pikeville area.
Coal production in Pike County declined 12.3 percent year over year in the third quarter of 2018 and 80 coal jobs were lost, according to a report from the state government.
Adam Edelen, founder of Edelen Ventures and a former Kentucky state auditor, helped Johns come up with the idea to build the solar farm. Here he discusses the project's potential to revitalize the Appalachian region.
During the construction period, RH Group will employ over 200 people. Afterward, 30 to 50 full-time workers will take on security jobs, as well as monitor the flow of the panels and maintain them.