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Uptown Solar closer to construction on Amargosa site

A planned solar energy facility that will be constructed in Amargosa Valley got one step closer to reality Wednesday at the Nye County Board of Commissioners meeting.

County commissioners approved conditional land use for Uptown Solar to move ahead with its planned solar site with 5-to-0 vote.

Texas-based Uptown Solar is set to build a 20-megawatt solar facility on an approximately 100-acre site off of Valley View and Farm roads.

The project will connect into Valley Electric Association’s 138 kV substation in District 2. The solar company is working toward finishing its obligations in order to build.

“We’re looking at finalizing the development agreement with Nye County here over the next 90 days,” said Craig Lobel, Uptown’s vice president of program development.

Making sure all needs are met, Uptown Solar is consulting with a few groups to make sure everything is up to code.

“We’re just working through the interconnect requirements now with Valley Electric and the California service operators,” he said.

Uptown Solar hopes to hire locally for all jobs relating to the facility, with a few steady positions available for when the site is complete. They will have representatives at Amargosa Days this weekend.

“We’re looking to hire local residents that can handle some of the construction requirements as well as long-term operations,” Lobel said. “Initially on the 20 megawatt far we’ll probably have three full-time employees and then occasional labor and also contracting contractors to do some of the quarterly and annual maintenance on the project.”

There is a long-term plan to increase the project’s initial size, which will in turn create more jobs.

“At full build-out which will be a 40-megawatt facility, which will be built out over the next three years, we look at employing about six full-time employees,” he said.

As of now the energy distribution is unclear, as Uptown Solar is working with VEA and California Utilities, but keeping the power generated in the area is the hope.

“We would like to keep the energy here on the Valley Electric grid for the Amargosa Valley,” Lobel said. “It will all be dependent on what Valley Electric and the California (Independent Service Operators) converters look at in terms of moving power either here in Nevada or the California market.”

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