Banjo Solar Project a go following zoning change, conditional use permit approvals by Moffat County Commissioners
A projected $500m solar project on the O’Tooles’ property along the border of Moffat County and Sweetwater County received needed clearance Tuesday at the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners’ meeting at the Moffat County Courthouse.
Commissioners initially approved a zoning change for the property located in the northwest portion of the county. The zone change goes from agricultural to heavy industrial, clearing the way for the acreage to be converted into a solar farm.
According to Roy Tipton, who presented the project to the board on behalf of Planning and Zoning’s Jerry Hoberg, said that the zoning changed needed to occur in that area to allow the project to move forward. The zone change was previously unanimously passed by the Planning & Zoning committee on June 9.
According to the project’s proposal, the zoning change covers approximately 1,280 acres. The acreage was previously used for grazing and ranching, and sits adjacent to Pacificorp’s planned Gateway South transmission line.
The permit process for the project would take roughly 12-18 months, according to Stuart Smith of Banjo Solar Holdings, LLC, and the project would be constructed in 2022 and 2023 with a life of roughly 35 years.
According to Smith, the project would create 300 local construction jobs, with roughly 15 jobs sticking around long term following the completion of the project.
Per the official application, the site will be used for development, construction and operation of a photovaltaic solar energy and battery storage project.
The project will included an aggregate up to approximately 458 megawatts DC / 352 megawatts AC solar PV generating and sub-surface electricity collection system, an approximately 150 MW battery storage system, a two-mile long distribution line connecting two generating nodes within the project, a substation, on-site service roads, and a short transmission line connecting Banjo to Pacificorp’s planned Gateway South transmission line.
According to Smith, roughly 710,000 photovoltaic panels will be used for the project. In addition to the panels, the Moffat County portion of the project will include roughly 54 DC to AC inverters mounted on concrete pads, a substation consisting of transformers and other power conversion and control equipment, and an approximately 150 MW battery-based energy storage facility consisting of modular, weatherized battery storage units.
The Moffat County portion of the Banjo Solar Project will have a generating capacity of approximately 306 MW DC / 235 MW AC. Smith says the project will enable Moffat County to achieve additional long-term benefits from Gateway South’s Moffat County footprint, both in terms of near-term construction jobs and long-term operating jobs and increased tax revenues.
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