Construction Of 150 Megawatt Solar Farm Outside Of Cheyenne Likely To Begin In March

in Energy/News

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By Kevin Killough, energy reporter
Kevin@CowboyStateDaily.com

South Cheyenne Solar LLC, which is owned by California-based QCells, has filed an industrial siting permit application with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, an important step for any planned wind or solar farm. 

A representative of QCells declined to discuss the project with Cowboy State Daily, but according to the application the project will be located 9 miles south of Cheyenne on U.S. Highway 85 on 1,391 acres of private and state land. 

Application Provides Details

The spot was chosen, according to the application, because it’s outside sage grouse area and other areas of environmental concern. Also, the landowners were willing to sign leases with the company. 

The 150 megawatt solar farm will be connected to a substation owned by Black Hills Corp. via a 2.58-mile transmission line. 

“Utility customers, both individuals and commercial and industrial users, are demanding clean, renewable energy. Laramie County and Wyoming as a whole have a unique opportunity to serve this demand and, thereby, create both temporary and long-term jobs,” the application states. 

Should the company obtain all necessary permits, it will begin construction in March, and it will take 10 months to complete. This will create 182 temporary construction jobs, and when the farm is up and running, it will have about one employee.

About 15% of the construction workforce would be sourced from Laramie County.

“Based on the type of labor required to construct the facility, most of the needed construction workers will be nonlocal,” the company explains in the application. 

The total workers on site during construction is estimated to peak in June, with 180 workers, and will be completed by the end of 2023. 

Millions Of Local Dollars

Expenditures in the county during construction will be about $7.8 million. The company estimates that during the solar farm’s 35-year lifespan, it will generate $23 million in ad valorem taxes. This doesn’t include sales tax, lodging tax and other indirect taxes paid by workers during the construction.

Based on the size and impact of the project, local governments will receive an estimated $3 million from a required impact assistance fund. 

Follow The Sun

The solar panels will be about 7 feet by 4 feet and weigh about 78 pounds each. These panels will be mounted on rotating shafts that are 4 to 7 feet high. At full tilt, the panels will be about 10 feet high, but the exact height won’t be known until final design. The rotating shafts will allow the panels to follow the sun across the sky. 

The company must obtain permits from a dozen local, state and federal agencies. This includes the Federal Aviation Administration, the EPA, the Wyoming State Engineers Office, the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Society, the Wyoming Department of Transportation and Laramie County. 

The company intends to hold a public hearing on the project in January. 

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