weather icon Cloudy

Sunshine Valley solar project is moving forward

The Sunshine Valley solar project, the biggest commercial development in Amargosa Valley in years, is gaining ground.

The parent of the project, San Francisco-based First Solar, was recently awarded a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) from Southern California Edison. The agreement is now pending approval from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

The company is developing an approximately 100-megawatt alternating current solar project located on 745 acres of private land that the company intends to lease in Amargosa Valley.

“The Amargosa Valley is one of several very good places to build a solar project. It has a lot of sun, available private land and available grid interconnection cost to competitively serve the California market,” Laura Abram, director for public affairs at First Solar said.

First Solar expects to break ground in January 2019 with project completion in January 2020 per the PPA, Abram added.

Sunshine Valley received a Development Agreement from Nye County in 2013. The project also received its Compliance Order under the Utility Environmental Protection Act from the PUC.

“When fully operational, the project will generate enough clean solar energy to serve the needs of about 23,000 average Nevada homes per year, displacing approximately 178,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, the equivalent of taking about 26,000 cars off the road,” the company’s press release said.

Sunshine Valley also has to receive its final permit to construct, which will be the final environmental approval. With that, the project will have received all of its environmental permits required for construction, Abram said.

“First Solar’s projects are typically low-lying, with minimal noise, lighting and traffic and do not use water to generate electricity. The project will utilize First Solar’s advanced thin film solar photovoltaic panels,” she said.

Abram also said the project is expected to create a construction workforce of 300 and up to seven full-time operations jobs.

Officials in Amargosa Valley, where businesses are scarce, expect the project to be an economic boon.

“We’ve had very little commercial growth in 20 years. The last big project we had was Longstreet (Inn) in ‘95,” Amargosa Valley Town Board Administrator Mike Cottingim said.

The Sunshine Valley solar project is going to be located on private land, that First Solar intends to lease.

While Amargosa Valley is not going to charge the company any fees, Cottingim hopes the town will benefit from jobs and production that will support the local economy.

“And hopefully that will mean trickle-down economics,” he said.

First Solar already operates several facilities in southern Nevada including Boulder City and Primm. Several other projects, primarily in Clark County, are currently being developed. Sunshine Valley is the only project the company has in Nye County with a PPA.

“We see a lot of future potential for continued utility-scale solar development in the county,” Abram said.

Back to school: Where to get free supplies & essentials

It’s not always easy for families to afford everything that’s needed, particularly with inflation putting an additional pinch on parents’ pockets.

‘Buy in Nye’ awarded for helping 17 homeowners

The Buy in Nye homeownership program provided nearly $3.9 million in affordable mortgages and $288,000 in down-payment assistance to 17 Nye County families.

Solar recycling project denied

Along with the boom in solar energy generation projects, solar recycling is becoming more prevalent, resulting in companies looking to expand their operations to accommodate the new industry. One company, i-Quest Inc., was hoping to bring its own operations to the Pahrump Valley but Nye County commissioners shot down the idea at the board’s most recent meeting.

GALLERY: Winners from this year’s 4th of July Parade

A special ceremony was held this week to bestow the awards upon those organizations that took home top honors in this year’s Fourth of July Parade, sponsored by the Pahrump Holiday Task Force in partnership with the Pahrump Disability Outreach Program.

GALLERY: Helen Keller Days raises $2k for local Federation of the Blind Chapter

The 2nd Annual Helen Keller Days took place with members of the Southern Nye County Chapter of the Federation of the Blind coming together with community supporters for an afternoon of fun and excitement, all in the name of fundraising.

Biden tests positive for COVID, shortens Vegas trip

President Joe Biden pulled out of a speech before the nation’s largest Latino organization after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Help ‘empty the shelters’ — adopt a pet

Created in 2011, by Cathy Bissell, the Bissell Pet Foundation has made a positive impact in the lives of roughly more than 775,000 dogs and cats across the country.

Pahrump delegate: Trump-Vance ticket a ‘good blend’

President Donald Trump announced on social media that he has chosen Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio as his running mate in the 2024 election.