A brighter future? Solar venture might present new daybreak for state land – The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Adjacent landowner Stacey Cook seems to be to state-owned land north of Interstate 70 and east of Grand Junction Regional Airport and sees a property that draws trespassing campers, individuals dumping refuse and setting unlawful fires, utilizing medication and inflicting different issues.

“It’s gotten very dangerous. It’s just out of control,” stated Cook about situations on the State Land Board acreage simply to the east of his land. His property is home partly to the individually owned Grand Junction Motor Speedway.

Solar Dumped car.jpg

Image from SolarGen software for Mesa County conditional use allow

SolarGen’s software for a Mesa County conditional use allow reveals a lot of examples of the realm getting used a rubbish dump website.

Now, Cook is hopeful about the way forward for the neighboring land as a result of a proposal to construct a large-scale solar-power venture there below a lease with the state.

Importantly to him, amongst different issues, the venture could be surrounded by a safety fence. Though solar panels have a visible impression, he thinks the venture could be an enormous enchancment over the present state of affairs.

“With that being cleaned up, I think it will be a much better visual picture for people traveling down I-70,” he stated. “I think it’s a good project for out here, and I think it will be an asset.”

The venture proposal is being put ahead by SolarGen of Colorado and envisions a 48-megawatt facility that might entail solar panels on about 150 acres of a 280-acre parcel leased from the state. SolarGen has a planning lease however might pursue a manufacturing lease ought to it clear hurdles corresponding to acquiring allow approvals, together with from Mesa County.

Carmine Iadarola


President and CEO of SolarGen of Colorado

According to Carmine Iadarola, founder and CEO of SolarGen, a megawatt of power is sufficient to serve the wants of about 300 properties in America.

“We’re just hopeful that we can provide the energy that’s needed to help meet the renewable energy mandates by the state and move forward with the project,” he stated.

According to written venture supplies from SolarGen, Colorado, as the primary state to enact a renewable energy portfolio customary, “remains a prime candidate for solar development with a stated goal of every utility across the state becoming carbon-free by 2050.”

Ken Scissors, co-chair of the Grand Valley Cleantech Business Coalition, is happy in regards to the prospect of such a large-scale venture coming to a county that has seen solar growth restricted to smaller tasks and rooftop panels thus far.

Solar site.jpg


SolarGen’s software for a Mesa County conditional- use allow consists of this map exhibiting the situation of its proposed solar power website.

“This could be the project everyone’s been hoping for and waiting for, that maybe could show the industrial-scale solar world that this (county) is a viable location to do business,” he stated.

Sean Norris, supervisor of the Mesa County Planning Department, stated SolarGen’s venture is the most important solar venture the county has in entrance of it as an software.

“We’ve spoken with some trade association representatives who have indicated that, due to the current administration’s push for a lot of solar opportunities and utility-scale solar farms, we may see applications for similar-size or maybe even larger” tasks, he stated.

Iadarola stated many firms prefer to be related to such renewable-energy tasks as he’s been concerned with, and with some wanting to purchase solely renewable power, a scarcity of large-scale native renewable energy manufacturing could be a strike in opposition to an space by way of attracting companies.

But he’s cautious to acknowledge the impacts of solar power as nicely.

“Solar is not God’s gift to man. Like everything, it has its positives and it has its negatives. It’s a piece of the puzzle for the infrastructure for Grand Junction,” he stated.

Solar north view.jpg


SolarGen’s software for a Mesa County conditional use allow consists of this picture exhibiting the view to the north at its proposed solar power website. The state-owned land is north of Interstate 70 and east of Grand Junction Regional Airport. The proposal envisions a 48-megawatt facility that might entail solar panels on about 150 acres of a 280-acre parcel leased from the state.


SolarGen is looking for a conditional use allow from the county for the venture. The county Planning Commission first thought of the matter in April, and is because of resume consideration of it at its assembly on Thursday. It heard in April from 4 neighbors of the state property who voiced numerous issues in regards to the venture.

One of them is Mike Lowenstein, who instructed The Sentinel this week that his primary concern, as somebody who in his youthful years was a personal pilot, is the potential for the solar panels to replicate daylight into pilots’ eyes within the space of the airport.

He remembers challenges throughout his flying days with glare when trying to land on the airport with the solar low within the sky within the late afternoon, and he desires the corporate to do laptop modeling to judge the likelihood for solar reflection impacting pilots if the venture is constructed.

“If there isn’t any (reflection problem), then I have no objection to them doing it,” Lowenstein stated.

The airport hasn’t taken a place for or in opposition to the venture, however has requested for a glare/reflectivity evaluation to be completed in reference to it.

“Where that project is proposed, it’s in the flight path, the approach flight path for Runway 29. It’s always important to us that we understand the impact to pilots potentially, but in this case it’s critical,” stated Angela Padalecki, the airport’s govt director.

SolarGen has dedicated to such an evaluation as soon as ultimate design has been accomplished however previous to building. It says the venture can’t transfer ahead with out the airport and Federal Aviation Administration indicating it presents no security threat.

Padalecki stated if evaluation reveals an issue, the airport and developer would want to work collectively to determine mitigate it.

“This is a normal path for these types of projects when they’re near airports,” she stated.

She stated the airport appreciates when builders come to the airport early within the starting stage, as SolarGen did. She stated the airport need to determine work with tasks quite than put up limitations to them, and it’s simpler to try this early on in planning quite than later asking for plans to be modified.

SolarGen says it doesn’t anticipate the panels will produce glint or glare issues, as they’re constructed with darkish, light-absorbing supplies and lined with an anti-reflective coating. Tiny indentations within the panel glass additional reduce the sunshine that’s mirrored, the corporate says.

It says a few fifth of public airports within the nation have put in on-site solar panels, with Denver International Airport being amongst them.

Said Padalecki, “That’s something we hope that we can pursue in the future, is a potential solar project at the airport.”

She stated the power is in the course of a planning research to tell growth on the airport. In some areas there, the very best and finest use could also be a constructing corresponding to a hangar, however in some areas, corresponding to these which can be noisy as a result of takeoffs and landings however wouldn’t pose reflectivity points, solar panels may be a very good use of land that in any other case would possibly go unused, she stated.

Lowenstein stated apart from the glare concern, he has no different objection to the proposed solar panels “other than the fact that they’re ugly, but some things you can’t help.”

He stated not a lot could be completed about how the panels look, to not point out the visible impression of the power strains related to them.

“If they were going to put up a wind farm, we’d have a real fight on our hands. They’re not only ugly, they’re dangerous, and they make noise and they’re absolutely as ugly as anything can be,” he stated.

Solar proposed art.jpg

This is an instance of a potential artwork characteristic that might be displayed at SolarGen’s proposed solar farm, in recognition of untamed horses that dwell close by within the Little Book Cliffs herd.

SolarGen believes the venture won’t be seen to many of the space residents dwelling south of I-70. It plans to make use of landscaping and screening on fencing to attenuate visible impacts, together with for freeway motorists.

According to Iadarola, SolarGen is each Xcel Energy and Grand Valley Power as potential factors of interconnection for the venture’s electrical energy era, however SolarGen can’t instantly converse to Grand Valley Power due to contractual provisions.

In the case of Xcel, SolarGen sees its venture as serving to that utility in its pursuit of extra renewable energy provides.

Iadarola stated a advantage of the venture is that it wouldn’t take land out of agricultural manufacturing.

“We particularly like this site because it has no water and it has no infrastructure,” he stated. “… We plan to make this a piece of productive land and we don’t need any water, we don’t need any sewer (service).”

Like Cook, SolarGen factors to how a solar farm might tackle issues with what’s occurring on the now-vacant property.


Garbage litters the piece of state- owned property which will quickly be home to a solar energy venture. The venture could be constructed on land east of Grand Junction Regional Airport.

“This area has experienced vagrancy issues,” stated Kristin Kemp, a board spokeswoman.

She stated the board owns greater than 3 million acres spanning the state and has simply 45 workers, and depends on its leaseholders for day-to-day oversight of the land.

While 98% of its lands are leased for functions corresponding to agricultural use, mineral growth and renewable energy manufacturing, the bulk proposed for the solar venture atypically hasn’t been beforehand leased, making stewarding it extra of a problem, she stated.

“We are glad that SolarGen now has a planning lease on this parcel and can regularly monitor the property,” she stated.


Litter is seen piece of state owned property which will quickly be home to a solar energy venture on Friday, June 10. The venture could be constructed on land east of Grand Junction Airport.


Solar power manufacturing would imply extra money for schooling in Colorado from State Land Board revenues. The board has been the first supply of the Department of Education’s Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program, which offers aggressive capital building grants to colleges.

SolarGen estimates that if its venture goes ahead, it might generate $300,000 in annual revenues for the board and schooling.

Distribution of these revenues isn’t linked to the place they’re generated, which is an efficient factor in Mesa County’s case. It has solely about 1,300 acres of state belief lands, however county faculties nonetheless have obtained greater than $20 million in BEST grants.

The SolarGen venture might significantly add to renewable energy tasks, which now generate about 300 megawatts of energy, most from wind power.


Photos by MCKENZIE LANGE/The Daily Sentinel

SolarGen’s software for a Mesa County conditional-use allow is for the parcel of land, seen above, for a proposed solar plant. The state-owned land is north of Interstate 70 and east of Grand Junction Regional Airport. The proposal envisions a 48-megawatt facility that might entail solar panels on about 150 acres of a 280-acre parcel leased from the state.

Colorado and another states have continued to be owed land from the federal authorities that was not obtained at statehood, Kemp stated.

Some of that debt has been settled since, together with by land transfers by the BLM. The State Land Board is constant to work with the BLM to settle remaining debt, Kemp stated.

A 36-inch-diameter Ute Water Conservancy District water line crosses the property proposed for the solar venture and was below a right-of-way settlement with the BLM.

When the property transferred to the state, Ute by no means obtained an easement. Ute Water and the State Land Board have been discussing this oversight, which might probably be addressed by a brand new settlement.

However, SolarGen plans to accommodate the pipeline and an electrical energy line that cross the property.

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