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Another application is scheduled for a hearing as another plant awaits start of construction this year

INTERNET PHOTO - Interest in solar power development continues in Crook County.

While many renewable energy sources have drawn attention locally, solar remains the hottest option in Crook County, an area known for its "300 days of sunshine."

The county already boasts the largest plant in the state, and five other solar projects have received land use approval locally. Most of the approved sites are southwest of town along Millican Road.

Another project might join that list in the future as the Crook County Planning Commission is holding a hearing March 27 for a new application. The proposed West Prineville Solar Farm would occupy 320 acres.

About two years ago, SunPower Corp., which is headquartered in California's Silicon Valley, announced construction of the Gala Solar Power Plant. By late October, the 56-megawatt facility was completed and operational.

Located on Millican Road about seven miles south of the Prineville Airport, it was estimated that 300 jobs would be created during peak construction of the solar facility.

According to Art Sasse, director of communications and brand for Avangrid Renewables, which owns and operates the new facility, the Gala plant sets on a 400-acre parcel, about 325 acres of which is covered by nearly 160,000 solar panels. The plant generates 56 megawatts, enough electricity to power approximately 14,000 homes, Sasse said.

Click here to read the rest of the story in the Central Oregonian.

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