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Solar Farm Proposed Near Wyoming-Colorado Border; Will Cover 875 Acres Of Land

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By Kevin Killough, energy reporter

A German company with headquarters in Irvine, California, is eying a parcel of Laramie County land to build a 150-megawatt solar farm south of Cheyenne near the Colorado border. 

South Cheyenne LLC, which is a subsidiary of Hanwha Qcells USA Corp., is in the early stages of permitting for what the company is calling the South Cheyenne Solar Project.

The solar farm will cover 875 acres of private land, according to a letter the company sent to the Laramie County clerk. 

The project will include a 2.5-mile generational interconnect – short transmission lines from the generating solar farm to the transmission system – to a new substation that Black Hills Energy is building. 

Potential Impact

The project has a capital cost of $160 million and will create an estimated 113 and182 construction jobs. The farm will require one permanent full-time position during operation. 

The company estimates it will generate $16 million in property taxes over 30 years. 

The letter states that locations of the solar farm’s proposed facilities are likely to change before the final project design is complete. 

If all goes as planned, the company will hold a public hearing in January, and construction is anticipated to begin in March. Commercial operations are slated to begin in December 2023. 

In August, Company representatives met with officials from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality last month for an industrial siting jurisdictional meeting, which determined that the project does fall within the jurisdiction of the DEQ. 

Keith Guille, a spokesperson for the agency, said Monday that the company had not yet submitted its industrial siting application. Once that’s received, the Industrial Siting Council has to approve or deny a permit within 135 days, according to state law. 

Guille said the DEQ works with applicants to make sure their applications are complete prior to the hearing.

“It’s a very fast process,” Guille said. 

The company also will need to go through permitting with Laramie County, including the submission of a site plan and high-power transmission line application. The company states in its letter that it intends to hold public meetings on the project, where its potential “environmental, social, and economic issues” will be discussed. 

“The full anticipated economic benefits and anticipated impacts from the project are still being determined and analyzed, but will be fully vetted through the permitting process,” the letter states.

Qcells declined to comment to a request from Cowboy State Daily, but said in a statement it would “provide comment later in the year as the project progresses.”

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