Impacts of Facility Construction

Conversations with individuals familiar with Nevada Solar One indicate that the facility’s construction had minimal impacts on Boulder City. Though it is unclear how many individuals may have moved to Boulder City to work on the facility’s construction, the information gathered from the interviews suggests that workers who did move to the city had little impact on the rental housing market. Construction also had little impact on Boulder City’s stores, transit, and public services.

Job Creation
During the 13 months of construction, there were between 800 and 1,300 workers onsite at any one time. Most of these jobs were temporary full-time. Tradesmen needed onsite included electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, and general laborers. Lauren Engineers and Constructors served as Acciona’s main contractor, and subcontracted firms from throughout the Las Vegas metropolitan area to construct the facility.

It is unclear how many workers hired during construction were already living locally and how many came from out-of-state. During the construction period, union organizations in the state complained that Acciona was not hiring enough Nevada residents given the lucrative state tax incentives the $250 million project had received.1 Two interviewees alluded to this controversy, one noting that hiring practices were “a bone of contention” and that he believed that Acciona had hired “a considerable amount” of imported labor. Another interviewee said she thought Acciona’s employment practices were one of the negative aspects of the project; to her knowledge, not many of the workers were local.

Regardless of who filled Nevada Solar One’s construction jobs, these positions likely had little impact on Boulder City due to the size and demographics of the city’s workforce. Given that over a third of the city’s 16,000 residents are retired, Boulder City’s workforce is relatively small in comparison to the Las Vegas metropolitan area’s workforce;2 as one interviewee noted, “We’re right next to a large metropolitan area, with two million people, and quite a few people looking for work.... [Acciona] had a large employment base to choose from in the region as a whole.” Furthermore, Boulder City’s residents are generally highly educated and white collar;3 the city’s workforce likely did not have the skills or desire to hire into the facility’s construction jobs.

Rental Housing
During facility construction, interviewees reported there was little effect on Boulder City’s rental housing market. Though it is unclear how many workers were already living in the Las Vegas Metropolitan area when construction commenced, no interviewees observed a large influx of new residents to the area. Hence, it is unlikely that construction stimulated demand for rental property in Boulder City.

Additionally, workers that moved to the area for facility construction probably did not move to Boulder City because the city’s rental property is relatively expensive and scarce in comparison to rental stock available throughout the Las Vegas metropolitan area.4 One respondent noted that, “Being a slow growth community... [Boulder City has] a very low vacancy rate and ... high rents.” Individuals that did move to the area for construction jobs likely did not live in Boulder City. Of workers that moved to Boulder City, one individual noted that several senior employees from Lauren Engineers and Constructors “actually lived in Boulder [City] because they could afford the rent.” However, this group likely included “maybe only a dozen people all together.”

Local Restaurants and Stores
Interviewees gave mixed responses as to whether Nevada Solar One construction had an impact on Boulder City’s local stores and restaurants. A representative from Acciona said the construction crews “absolutely” had an impact. Though he qualified his response as an “assumption,” he believed, “People ate lunch in the restaurants. For purposes of hardware stores and other businesses, there was a need for materials that weren’t ordered in large scale.” A Boulder City elected official also noted a “flurry of activity” during the construction period.

However, other individuals were more skeptical of impacts the facility’s construction may have had on downtown businesses. Some interviewees said stores saw little change in demand because they believed few individuals moved to Boulder City because of construction. Workers that did move to Boulder City likely shopped where the local residents shopped- in Las Vegas. As one interviewee noted, “Even people in Boulder [City] go over the hill to Las Vegas and Henderson to do their shopping.” As for the construction workers that commuted to Boulder City, a city planner said, “I wish I could say it affected us a lot, but because it literally is out in the middle of nowhere” workers generally could not drive to Boulder City for lunch because the commute would consume most of their break. Instead, he believed most workers packed their lunch: “They would come to the job site for work, do their thing, and then go home.”

Interviewees generally thought Nevada Solar One’s construction had very little impact on local traffic and public roads. One respondent said no “city-maintained roads” were affected by facility construction. With regards to increased traffic, individuals cited the facility’s location, approximately fifteen miles away from downtown, as the reason why construction vehicles were not much of a presence in town. One individual also noted that US 95, the highway near the site of Nevada Solar One, is a main corridor for freight trucks; in his words, the facility’s construction vehicles were “not even statistically relevant” compared to the amount of traffic normally on the highway.

In terms of wear and tear, the facility also had little impact on public roads. No additional public roads were built for the project and, as stated previously, the main road to the facility was designed for heavy truck traffic.

Public Services
Facility construction had little to no impacts on Boulder City or Clark County’s ability to provide social services. Given that construction only lasted 13 months and that construction workers lived throughout the Las Vegas metropolitan area, impacts on Boulder City schools and other services were minimal.

1 Tony Illia, “Green Light: Nevada’s Largest Solar Power Plant Opens,” Southwest Contractor, June 1, 2007,

2 United States Census Bureau, United States Census 2000,

3 United States Census Bureau, United States Census 2000,

4 United States Census Bureau, United States Census 2000,