Aug 262011

By Linda Kor–

A request for a special use permit by Aurora Solar for a photovoltaic solar power generation facility received final approval by the Navajo County Board of Supervisors on Aug. 23.

The project, Dry Lake II Solar Facility, will be located approximately three miles north of Snowflake, and will include the construction of a facility on 399 acres of property. According to information provided by the company, the facility is expected to produce up to 50 megawatts of renewable energy and will be arranged in units called “blocks.” A typical block extends approximately 140 feet in a north to south direction and 300 feet in an east to west direction. Although the block sizes vary, each block will contain approximately 18 motorized solar tracker units supported on driven pier foundations. Each of these tracker units supports 40 to 100 or more solar panels that will be approximately six feet in height.

Each block will also include a contained inverter unit for DC to AC voltage conversion and associated transformer. It is estimated that there will be 50 inverter units for the project, with each inverter unit being no taller than 15 feet high and mounted on a concrete pad.

Aurora Solar is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, and the solar project will be located adjacent to the company’s wind farm, Dry Lake II Wind Power Project.

The facility will provide approximately 200 jobs during the six- to nine-month construction phase, then one to two permanent positions once the facility goes into operation.

The construction is anticipated to begin in October and is expected to be complete by the end of 2012. Once complete, the project is expected to be operational for at least 25 years.

Photo courtesy of Aurora Solar

This photograph is representative of photovoltaic facility arrays and inverter units. The project north of Snowflake will be similar to this.