Plan board approves solar energy project

A commercial solar energy facility proposed in Sheridan County passed the first hurdle this week when the county planning & zoning commission recommended approval of the project.

County Planner Mark Reid said about a dozen people attending the planning board meeting spoke both for and against the project, which will go before Sheridan County commissioners for another public hearing and final action on Jan. 19.

Reid said the recommendation for approval includes six conditions that have been recommended by the county planning staff. He said one of the conditions deals with the status of an old county road that goes through the area.

Other conditions call for construction to adhere to county standards regarding steep slopes and that a final drainage design be submitted to the county’s public works department prior to any construction.

The project developers also must provide exact specifications for facility lighting to the county’s public works department and must address recommendations that have been made by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

According to the proposal submitted to the planning & zoning commission, Sheridan Solar LLC will build and operate a 20-megawatt commercial solar energy facility consisting of around 90,000 photovoltaic arrays on Swaim Road. The project site is about 96 acres out of a 163-acre parcel owned by SunSource LLC.

According to the application, power produced by the facility would be tied to transformers that would, ultimately, interconnect with an existing Montana-Dakota Utilities substation on Swaim Road east of the proposed facility.

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