MARK CENTER — Planning for a solar field project near here is moving forward with construction expected to begin in 2022, according to the company proposing it.
Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., the firm Savion wants to build a 110-megawatt facility field on Fountain Street Road, east of Mark Center. The solar field will tie into an existing substation on Fountain Street Road, according to Savion officials.
The company’s vice president of marking and public relations, Johnna Guinty, told The Crescent-News Thursday that “right now the project is moving forward. ... We have committed to it. We are definitely moving forward.”
She said the company is sending out letters and “notifying folks in that boundary area of what’s happening. We are going to use as many public channels as we can to educate, engage and provide information.”
Savion has established an internet website (markcentersolarproject.com), as well as a Facebook page to help inform the public.
Presently, Savion is “working on the logistics of a potential project,” said Guinty. “The steps in solar don’t move real fast. It’s in very early stage development.”
Some environmental studies have been undertaken for the site. These have addressed wetlands, threatened and endangered species, and wildlife habitat, according to Savion.
This will be followed by geotech, hydrology and cultural studies.
But “at this point,” explained Guinty, “our main goal is to communicate with everybody and give them all information as we have now.” As such, the company has begun sending out some 400 letters to nearby property owners, and is extending the reach far enough “to make sure we don’t leave anybody out,” Guinty explained.
“Mid-to-late 2022” is the project construction start time, according to Savion officials. The website states that “900 acres have been secured” for the project, although the array will occupy about 700 acres.
Land will be leased from local property owners for the solar field, according to Guinty.
The solar field will be secured with a fence, she indicated.
Although Savion is the project developer, the solar array will have its own name and corporation (Mark Center Solar Project, LLC).
Savion will fund the project’s development, but when construction begins the projects are “typically owned by private companies who bring their capital and financing to the table,” according to the company. Power generated from the solar field is then sold, “usually through long-term power purchase agreements, which brings a return on investment to the owner.”
Solar fields, as well as wind turbines, typically are at least partially funded by federal subsidies through a tax credit that help make them profitable.