Permit approved for large solar power farm in Yakima County

(Photo by Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Plentiful sunshine, a nudge from the state of Washington, and even a few sheep will help a large solar power farm in eastern Yakima County begin operation sometime in 2024.

Yakima County Hearing Examiner Gary Cuillier has approved a conditional use permit for the Black Rock Solar Energy Project, a photovoltaic solar power facility to be located 20 miles east of Moxee on both sides of State Route 24, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported.

The project will feature 264,000 solar panels spread over a 1,060-acre site north of the Rattlesnake Hills and roughly 8 miles south of the Columbia River as it flows into Benton County and past the former Hanford nuclear reactor site.

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Renewable energy developer BayWa.r.e, Solar Projects LLC, based in Irvine, Calif., hopes to begin construction in spring of 2023, said Brandon Reinhardt, director of development. Construction takes 16-18 months. The goal is to have the facility running by the end of 2024.

Reinhardt said the Black Rock project will generate 94 megawatts, capable of powering nearly 20,000 homes annually in the region with clean, reliable solar energy. This will help the state of Washington reach its goal of having utilities produce 100% renewable or zero-carbon energy by 2045.

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