weather icon Clear

Amargosa Valley solar project moves forward

A proposed solar energy project in Amargosa Valley moved another step forward this week.

The Nye County Board of Commissioners entered into a development agreement for the project during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

According to backup material on the county’s agenda, the project will be undertaken by Sunshine Valley Solar, LLC. It will be constructed on more than 700 acres of private property in the tiny town roughly 45 miles west of Pahrump.

Under the terms of the agreement, the parent company, First Solar, will pay Nye County a one-time fee of $10,000 to provide staff and equipment for the Amargosa Valley medical clinic during the construction period of the 65-megawatt photovoltaic power plant.

The company will also reimburse the Nye County Sheriff’s Office for any overtime incurred during the project.

Bobby Lewis, the county’s planning director, said that the company has an excellent track record judging from previous solar power projects worldwide.

“They look to be a great company and their parent company is First Solar, who has been in business for a number of years and they are one of the first to do the photovoltaic solar panels,” he said.

Lewis also said that under the terms of the development agreement, a reasonable effort must be made to hire Nye County applicants for construction and operation of the project.

A workforce of more than 300 individuals will consist of laborers, craftsmen, supervisory and support personnel as well as construction management personnel.

“That will be a great shot in the arm for the local community. After the project is completed, they will employ a small number of people to maintain the site,” he said.

Additionally, Lewis said Valley Electric Association is playing a big role in the project, which will include a half-mile transmission line to connect to the electric utility’s nearby 138-kilovolt substation.

“The power will go into Valley Electric’s grid. Usually with these types of projects, you want to be close to a major transmission line. When the electricity is produced, it will eventually be purchased. I think it’s a good project for the county. They want to be good neighbors to Amargosa and are contributing to some of the facilities in the area,” he said.

The photovoltaic modules will be installed on fixed-tilt mounting systems and will rise up to 13 feet above ground at the highest point.

Nye County Commissioner Frank Carbone said he was impressed with the company’s credentials.

“As far as the company is concerned, they seem to be pretty well known. There are several branches throughout the United States and other countries as well. Wherever there is a lot of sunlight they are out there. The panels are made in the U.S. and other places. I have not heard anything negative about them so as far as we know everything looks very positive,” he said.

Carbone’s positive feelings about the company and project was shared by those who provided public comment on the item.

Local resident Donna Lamm urged commissioners to approve the agreement.

“I have looked at some of the plans for this project in Amargosa Valley and I feel that it fits the criteria really well for a well-placed and technologically correct way to go with solar energy. It’s on previously disturbed land, it’s near transmission lines and it uses little or no water whatsoever. I feel this is an excellent project. If we are going to do solar, let’s do it right and in my opinion this is the right way,” she told the board.

Amargosa town board member John Bosta said he too was in favor of the facility.

“I would just like to say that our board has approved the project and we have sent a resolution to you saying that we do support this project and I believe that says it all,” he said.

J.W. Cunningham is a resident of Amargosa Valley. He told the board that he has some concerns about the project.

“My only problem is that they haven’t started building it yet. We really need this in our community and we hope it goes forward without a lot of complications,” the resident said.

Following a brief discussion, commissioners voted unanimously to enter into the development agreement.

The project will not take place anytime soon as groundbreaking is scheduled for early 2016.

Once complete, officials say the facility would be in operation for about 25 years.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
COVID-19 contact tracing attracts scammers

Contact tracing can help stop the spread of COVID-19, and a contact tracer from the health department might call if you have been exposed. But scammers are pretending to be contact tracers, and residents should be wary.

Blood donors can learn COVID-19 antibody status

Vitalant, the first national blood bank to test all blood donations for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is heading to Pahrump for a blood drive. All donors will receive a COVID-19 antibody test with each successful donation.

Red Cross seeks volunteers to help during wildfire season

As large fires, including the Poeville, Mahogany and Numbers fires, have affected hundreds of people as hot, dry, windy conditions have taken hold, the American Red Cross is looking for volunteers.

State’s initial unemployment claims rise 12.4% last week

Finalized data from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation show initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 12,484 for the week ending July 4, up 1,374 claims, or 12.4 percent, compared to last week’s total of 11,110.

Exposure forces closure of Pahrump Justice Court

The Pahrump Justice Court announced Monday that it will be closed effective Tuesday, July 7 because of a COVID-19 exposure.

Tax deadline coming up on July 15

The IRS is reminding taxpayers who have yet to file that IRS.gov has tools and services to help them meet their tax obligations. The deadline is Wednesday, July 15.

Bars closed again in Nye, 6 other Nevada counties

Nye County was one of seven Nevada counties affected when the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services announced the elevated disease transmission criteria for determining whether a county must revert to Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan for bars.

Appreciation Picnic honors Pahrump’s and Nye’s first responders

With red, white and blue decorations gracing tables, American flags and banners lining the fence and snapping in the breeze, balloons floating in the air and big smiles at the ready, area residents came together last week to honor the men and women who take on the duties of first responders for not just Pahrump but the entire county of Nye.

Pahrump pool season sinks amid lack of lifeguards

After the announcement that the 2020 Pahrump Community Pool season had been scrapped because of a lack of staffing applicants and the subsequent push to get more locals to apply for one one of the open positions that followed, the town of Pahrump was hoping that this year’s pool season would be saved.