Even though there have been very few cases of the coronavirus confirmed in the United States, it has already impacted the construction industry in several places and may spread to more.
In Wisconsin, for example, projects under development in two counties say the global crisis’ travel restrictions and factory shutdowns in China have disrupted the supply chains for solar panels. In a letter as old as February 6th, NextEra developers said supply chain disruptions were “adversely impacting” one of its supplier’s ability to deliver products on time and would require major schedule adjustments.
This is particularly expensive, as Wisconsin Public Service, one of three public utilities, has contracted to build a solar farm for $597 million—no small project. A spokesman for Solar Energy Industries Association said “While those reports are limited in scope now, companies are making contingency plans and back-up arrangements in the event of more significant disruptions.”
Meanwhile, in Georgia the coronavirus has been affecting the labor market. Some business owners say they’re unable to purchase enough safety equipment to keep their people safe on the job. Specifically, the facemasks that construction workers wear to avoid dust and paint fumes are unavailable as the global market has depleted all stock.
Project manager Steve Williams said, “More than the profit or the money, we're concerned about the safety of our workers and our customers, and we definitely want the guys in the field to be equipped with the right equipment. We don't want to sell them short," he said of the masks that many workers need to protect them from hazardous materials on the job.