Construction on solar power project near Moxee is ahead of schedule (2024)

Those traveling from Yakima County to the Tri-Cities area via State Route 24 will get a good glimpse at what the future of electricity production could look like in Central Washington.

The majority of panels for the Goose Prairie Solar project, located roughly 8 miles east of Moxee, have been erected this spring, and the project could begin full operation as soon as Sept. 30, developers said this week.

“We are actually slightly ahead of schedule,” Jacob Crist, senior project manager with developer Brookfield Renewable, said Wednesday during the monthly Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council meeting.

Brookfield Renewable plans to begin energization of the site on June 18, ramp up production to 90% sometime in late July or early August, then receive a final sign-off on the project on or about Sept. 30, Crist told the EFSEC board.

Substation work “has progressed to the 95% (completion) range, with the last major equipment delivered to the Goose Prairie site in late April," Crist said. Electricity produced by the project will go into Bonneville Power Administration’s Midway-to-Moxee transmission line, which bisects the site.

He also provided state officials with a first-quarter report showing the Goose Prairie project remains within environmental compliance standards that were stipulated when Gov. Jay Inslee approved the 80-megawatt solar energy facility in December 2021.

When construction began last fall at the 625-acre site near SR 24, Den Beste Road and Desmarais Road, Crist and other Brookfield Renewable officials said January 2025 was the target date for power to flow from the Goose Prairie site into the region’s electrical grid.

Nearby solar projects

Goose Prairie is one of four solar projects that have been approved for the State Route 24 corridor of northeast Yakima County, and the first to begin construction. Three others are expected to be built further east, near the Benton County line, beginning this summer.

The projects are part of a statewide and national push for solar, wind and other renewable energy operations as leaders ranging from state officials to President Joe Biden discuss and promote ways to reduce the use of carbon-based fuels.

With those goals and objectives coming from elected officials, several national and international companies see an economic opportunity and have proposed more than a dozen new solar- and wind-powered projects in Washington.

With its 300-plus days of sunshine each year, the Yakima Valley has the most important ingredient for solar power in abundance. Six solar projects have either been approved or are in the approval process.

One of these projects, Black Rock, was approved by Yakima County officials in May 2022, and two adjacent solar initiatives, High Top and Ostrea, were approved by Inslee last spring after more than a year of consideration by the state’s EFSEC officials.

All three of those projects are about 12 miles east of the Goose Prairie site, near the Silver Dollar Café at the intersection of SR 24 and SR 241, north of Sunnyside.

Black Rock, developed by California-based BayWa.r.e. Solar Projects LLC, will feature 264,000 solar panels spread over a 1,060-acre site north of the Rattlesnake Hills and south of the Yakima Training Center. It is expected to generate 94 megawatts, capable of powering nearly 20,000 homes annually in the region.

High Top and its nearby solar power project, Ostrea, will be built by California-based Cypress Creek Renewables. The two 80-megawatt projects can provide power for a combined 30,000 homes, Inslee said as he announced their approval at Yakima’s Perry Technical Institute in April 2023.

Construction on solar power project near Moxee is ahead of schedule (3)

Construction on solar power project near Moxee is ahead of schedule (4)

They are separate projects because they will be served by different power lines: High Top by PacifiCorp’s Union Gap-to-Midway 230 kV transmission line, and Ostrea by Bonneville Power Administration’s Moxee-to-Midway 115 kV transmission line – which also will take power from the Goose Prairie solar panels.

High Top and Ostrea cover roughly 1,600 acres each, with the solar panels and other equipment planned on 926 and 811 acres, respectively. The sites are north of SR 24 and south of the Yakima Training Center on property owned by Zine and Najiba Badissy, who agreed to long-term leases with the developer.

The Badissy family also is leasing some of its land to BayWa.r.e. for the Black Rock solar project.

Brandon Reinhardt, BayWa.r.e.’s senior director of land entitlement, told the Yakima Herald-Republic in November that construction of Black Rock’s solar arrays and other infrastructure should begin this summer and take between a year and 18 months to complete.

It is targeted to go online by September 2025, Reinhardt said.

Tai Wallace, senior director of development for Cypress Creek, said construction of High Top and Ostrea should begin at some point this year, with a mid- to late-2025 target for the operation to start delivering power.

Proposed projects adjacent to Yakima County

Two other projects just across the Yakima County/Benton County line, Wautoma Solar near the State Routes 24 and 241 intersection, and Hop Hill Solar off SR 241 just east of Sunnyside, remain under consideration by state officials.

At Wednesday’s monthly meeting, EFSEC site specialist Lance Caputo said a mitigated determination of nonsignificance, or MDNS, will be issued this week for the Wautoma site, with a two-week public comment period beginning Monday, May 20.

The MDNS includes measures intended to address a proposal’s adverse impacts on the environment, according to EFSEC’s list of definitions. The Wautoma site MDNS will be available online, both under the list of recently issued documents on the homepage, and under the “energy facilities” tab on the website, which lists each project under consideration.

Wautoma is a 470-megawatt solar photovoltaic generation facility coupled with a 4-hour, 470-MW battery energy storage system. It would be built on the family-owned, 6,000-acre Robert Ranch 5+1 at 1521 Wautoma Road, about 12 miles north of Sunnyside.

It would be developed by Canada-based Innergex Renewable Energy.

Also near the Yakima County line is the Hop Hill project, a 500-megawatt solar energy and power storage facility near Sunnyside and Grandview that would be built on a 5,000-acre site east of SR 241 and north of Interstate 82 by Florida-based BrightNight Power.

At its May 15 meeting, EFSEC board members learned steps such as a water source survey by the state Department of Ecology are still being completed at the Hop Hill site. Once field work is completed in coordination with the applicant, state agencies and tribal governments, a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) determination can be made for the application.

Construction on solar power project near Moxee is ahead of schedule (2024)


How long does it take to build a solar project? ›

The construction phase, which includes the installation of solar panels, inverters, and other equipment, can take 5-10 months to over a year to complete.

What is the construction of solar panels? ›

Solar panels, also referred to as solar modules, consist of layers of silicon cells enclosed in a metal frame with a glass casing. These silicon cells possess conductive properties that enable them to absorb and convert sunlight into usable electrical power.

Why are my solar panels generating at night? ›

It works by tapping on the heat radiated from the surface of the solar cells as infrared light into outer space on clear nights. By incorporating a thermoelectric generator into a conventional PV solar panel, the scientists achieved the generation of the energy by 50 mW/m2 in the nighttime.

What are the future plans for solar panels? ›

In the future, solar panel technology may be integrated into standard building materials from the bricks we use to build homes to transparent solar panels as windows that cover commercial buildings.

How long do solar projects last? ›

The industry standard for most solar panels' lifespans is 25 to 30 years. Most reputable manufacturers offer production warranties for 25 years or more. The average break even point for solar panel energy savings occurs six to 10 years after installation.

How many hours a day do solar panels produce? ›

All you need to do is multiply the wattage of your panel by the number of daily peak sun hours. A homeowner installs a 400-watt solar panel and expects about four peak sun hours in a day. That means this panel would produce 1,600 watt-hours of electricity per day.

What are the layers of solar panel construction? ›

Layers That Make Up a Solar Panel

A solar panel typically consists of a junction box, back sheet, solar cells, encapsulant layer, glass cover, and frame.

How do solar panel projects work? ›

Solar power works by converting energy from the sun into power. There are two forms of energy generated from the sun for our use – electricity and heat. Both are generated through the use of solar panels, which range in size from residential rooftops to 'solar farms' stretching over acres of rural land.

How hard is it to build a solar panel? ›

But the technology behind making the actual solar panel is surprisingly simple. In fact, the process of making your own solar panels is quite straightforward. The supplies are readily available and inexpensive, and no professional skills are required beyond a little soldering.

Can Moonlight charge solar panels? ›

Given that moonlight is just sunlight reflected off the moon, you'll be relieved to learn that yes, solar panels can operate with moonlight. Your solar panels will, however, create very little power at night, even if the moon is shining directly on them with no clouds in the sky.

What time of day do solar panels produce the most power? ›

Solar panels achieve the highest power output in the hours around noon. During this time, as long as the weather is not cloudy, your panels should receive maximum sunshine.

Do solar panels work in the rain? ›

While solar panels achieve peak performance in direct sunlight, they do generate electricity in cloudy and rainy conditions. This remarkable adaptability ensures that adopting solar energy is a robust and reliable choice, even in regions that experience diverse weather patterns.

What is the new solar technology in 2024? ›

Some of the emerging solar panel technology trends for 2024 include improvements in solar cell efficiency, advancements in storage technology, increased adoption of bifacial solar panels, and the incorporation of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to streamline system management.

What is the new technology to replace solar panels? ›

Perovskite solar cells are a breakthrough innovation. These cells offer a cheaper and more efficient alternative to traditional silicon cells, dramatically increasing the accessibility and efficiency of solar power.

What is the newest technology in solar? ›

A new solar system

The new cell uses perovskite, a crystalline structure formed by minerals that convert sunlight into electricity. The perovskite cell was invented by Japanese scientist and Toin University of Yokohama professor Tsutomu Miyasaka.

How long does it take to build a 100 MW solar farm? ›

As a general rule of thumb, it takes 3 months (per 2 MW DC) for a standard ground-mounted solar farm. Installation of solar modules and racking tends to be the quickest aspect, with electrical contracting taking the longest.

How fast can you build a solar farm? ›

Solar farms generally take eight to eighteen months to complete, from planning to implementation. Much of the timeline depends on the size of the solar farm.

How hard is it to build a solar farm? ›

Solar farms (typically about five to seven acres) need a significant amount of land to account for the solar arrays and the space for related equipment, repair, and maintenance. It also may take up to five years to construct a solar farm.

How much does it take to build a solar power plant? ›

Even a small solar farm can cost a few million dollars — a 1 MW solar farm could cost between $890,000 and $1.01 million. Comparatively, home solar systems cost $15,000 to $20,000 on average, and that price can drop to less than $10,000 with solar incentives like the federal tax credit.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Barbera Armstrong

Last Updated:

Views: 6460

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Barbera Armstrong

Birthday: 1992-09-12

Address: Suite 993 99852 Daugherty Causeway, Ritchiehaven, VT 49630

Phone: +5026838435397

Job: National Engineer

Hobby: Listening to music, Board games, Photography, Ice skating, LARPing, Kite flying, Rugby

Introduction: My name is Barbera Armstrong, I am a lovely, delightful, cooperative, funny, enchanting, vivacious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.