Osakis taps into the sun
A solar farm to be built on the south side of Osakis will soon begin harvesting the sun.
The 5 megawatt solar farm was approved by the Douglas County Board earlier this month.
The solar farm will include 21,600 fixed solar panels across 35 acres of land along Highway 27.
The property owner is Christopher Herickhoff of Villard. The land will be leased by Novel Energy Systems (NES) of Rochester.
Electricity generated at the farm will enter the power grid at the adjacent Xcel Energy substation, one of the few areas of Douglas County served by the power company.
Commissioners approved a conditional use permit for the solar farm earlier this month.
The conditions include:
• Submission of a site layout diagram showing the proposed impervious surfaces prior to construction.
• Decommission of site within 180 days of the following triggers: the system is not contributing off-site electrical energy to the grid for 500 or more consecutive days, project useful life has been met, and any portion of the system is damaged and not repaired or removed within 365 days of damage occurring.
• Native species shall be used for ground covering vegetation, and where possible, flowering plants should be included to create pollinator habitat.
• Applicant is responsible for maintaining the current drainage system capacity that accepts runoff from the west through a culvert under Highway 27.
The solar panels will be south oriented, tilted at a 30-degree angle and not exceed 15 feet in height, according to NES.
The panels, which have a glare factor equivalent to a body of water, will feed inverters that ultimately connect to the electric grid at a point in the northwest corner of the site.
The farm’s final layout will meet the county’s land use standards.
Plus, NES has plans to install a 6-foot chain-linked fence around the site. The land, which is accessible from Highway 27, will be mowed and maintained, according to NES.
Construction is scheduled to begin sometime this summer and, once it’s up and running, production will be monitored remotely.
The solar farm has an estimated life of 25 years.