Back in August, Fleet Development proposed a new community solar program for Wallowa County, OR. At the close of the year, it was finally announced by the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners that the lease of the land for the site had been approved. Behind the project is Ryan Sheehy, who has been at the frontlines trying to push approval for the solar facility since its inception earlier last year.
At the urging of county counsel Paige Sully, the board recessed to further discuss the proposed lease. During the executive session, the board ultimately agreed to allow the lease to go through. When the commissioners returned to a regular session, they made the approval official. Approval was originally granted back in August 2020, but it was pending a review of the contracts involving Fleet Development.
Construction for the new community solar program for Wallowa County is expected to take place on county-owned land on Homan Lane and Fish Hatchery Lane. The land was previously determined unusable for any means and was the site of an old asphalt plant.
Development of the community solar site is part of the new Community Solar Program initiated by the State of Oregon. First created in 2016, the community solar-specific program has yet to see a project become operation. It’s expected that the Wallowa County facility will be the first to pass through the strict certifications of Oregon’s solar program.
If the project goes online, it is expected to generate approximately 360-kilowatts of solar energy. The power draw in from the plant will be distributed to customers of Pacific Power and Light over a 20 to 30-year time. According to Commissioner Susan Roberts, the lease is extendable beyond that timeframe.
If Sheehy’s facility moves forward, homeowners will have the opportunity to subscribe to a unit of energy. Those wishing to save on their electricity bills can become a participant with no risk should they decide to cancel.
There has been no timeframe put on the project, though the approval indicates forward movement has been made.