Solar farm proposed for section of Clark County’s 78th Street Heritage Farm website

Photo voltaic panels, the hottest idea currently being tossed close to for the 78th Road Heritage Farm, may possibly bring a fresh new utility to the historic web site — but numerous queries continue being.

The Clark County Historic Preservation Fee read an initial proposal previously this thirty day period from Elemental Electrical power, a Portland-primarily based photo voltaic vitality enterprise. The enterprise is proposing a 2-megawatt solar farm on 5 acres of open up land at the web-site.

If the project materializes, it would court small- to average-income Clark Community Utilities consumers, who would have the solution to subscribe to a decide on quantity of panels and have the ability created from those people panels be credited to their accounts. The concept, named “virtual net metering,” could electrical power 300 properties, in accordance to the proposal.

Kevin Gooley, a photo voltaic guide with Elemental Energy, stated to the preservation fee that the approach is in its toddler phases. The organization is applying for a grant from the state that would address up to $1 million of the task price tag the task even now needs nods from bodies this kind of as the Clark County Council, Bonneville Electric power Administration and the utility district.

“This task is in really, incredibly severe early levels of growth,” Gooley mentioned.

In March, the county council accredited a grasp approach for the web site, which was launched as a poor farm in the 1870s and incorporates historic buildings, wetlands and wells.

The master approach leaves room on the house for purposes still to be established. Given that it was adopted, county personnel have worked on a organization prepare to increase income from the web-site following councilors expressed a desire for the farm to be much more fiscally self-sustaining.

The solar farm could carry in further profits in the sort of leasing fees. Gooley said that he was approached approximately a 12 months back about Elemental Energy’s fascination in the farm.

The proposal specifies an location near the southern end of the farm — involving a historic cemetery to the west, a hill to the north that serves as a viewpoint, Hazel Dell Park to the east and 68th Street to the south. Gooley reported the panels would not disrupt views or enjoyment of the encompassing regions, like a prepared enlargement of the park.

“It’s just, type of, in this lonely portion of this property that is not remaining used at all,” Gooley explained.

Sean Denniston, the preservation commission’s chair, warned Gooley that task coordinators would require to be very careful digging in the vicinity of the cemetery, as poorly marked graves have been identified in surrounding parts in the previous. But he supported the basic notion.

“I assume that the point that this place is remaining earmarked for low- and reasonable-revenue households form of creates an interesting link to the background of this put,” said Denniston, referencing the site’s 1st life as a weak farm. “When we’re pondering about compatible takes advantage of, I believe that is one thing that could engage in in.”

Not absolutely everyone agrees, nonetheless.

Robert Freed, a member of the Heritage Farm Advisory Board, claimed he has considerations about whether or not the challenge would hinder the agricultural theme outlined in the grasp prepare.

“While the assets isn’t being used now, the advisory board entertains agriculture-linked projects on the home,” Freed claimed. “I really do not see how it matches on the residence.”