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40 megawatts solar farm active in Kuna, largest in the northwest

Posted: 9:51 PM, Sep 16, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-16 23:51:11-04

The northwest's largest solar farm is now active right here in the Treasure Valley. Today officials dedicated the Solar One project in Kuna. It's a project years in the making, solar panels stretching as far as the eye can see covering 563 acres in Kuna.  Officials say it's been pumping juice to the Idaho Power grid since mid-august.

"We started in the dead of winter so it was a little chilly but it took 3 and half months to build and 95 percent of our labor is local," explained Byron Lamon of DEPCOM Power.

Project leaders say the solar farm is made up of over 174,000 solar panels that can generate 40 megawatts, enough to power 9,000 homes for 25 years.

"It's a great source of energy, it's very clean, doesn't require a lot of maintenance and very low operating cost," said Lamon.

But 40 megawatts of power is only a drop in the Bucket. As 6 On Your Side previously reported, Idaho Power's total peak demand is some 34 hundred megawatts.  Still, Ada County leaders say the solar farm will be a benefit to the Treasure Valley.

"Our county is growing at a tremendous rate," said Ada County Commissioner David Case. "This is a project that will continue to enhance our ability here in Ada County to provide the power for the people who are moving here."

Officials say the solar farm will displace greenhouse gas emissions equal to 5,500 cars. They also say more solar farm projects in the Gem State are in the works. DEPCOM power also gave back to the community by giving significant donations to local non-profits including the Idaho Youth Ranch, Idaho Food Bank, and the Salvation Army.