New solar project coming to Wilbarger County

The Wilbarger County Commissioners Court learned of a new solar energy project planned for Wilbarger County.

Orsted is planning to set a 400 megawatt producing solar power farm in southern Wilbarger County. Jordan Shontz told the county commissioners that the project will be on the Wilbarger Estate “tucked in next to the wind project.” It will produce power into a 15-mile transmission line that stretches into Wichita County. He said the company would like to enter into a Tax code Chapter 312 agreement with the county for a tax abatement for the project, to be named Eastern Trail Solar Center, located adjacent to the Western Trail Wind Project.

This would be the county’s second major solar project. A project was approved north of Harrold last year

Commissioner Phillip Graf asked how large the project would be. Shontz said it would cover about 4,000 acres located about six miles east of U.S. 283. “It is a big one, quite a bit larger than normal because there are streams and hydrological features are don’t want to interfere with,” Shontz said.

Commissioner Josh Patterson asked about the location, if it was all in Wilbarger County. Shontz said yes, that it would be a bout a half mike from the Baylor County line. He added that it was mostly separate from the wind farm, but 11 wind turbines would be set in among the solar panels.

Judge Greg Tyra said that the previously approved reinvestment zone, established for the wind farm will also cover the location of the proposed solar farm.

Shontz said that construction was expected to start in mid 2023, due to a delay in obtaining solar panels. He said the company was opting to use American made products instead of Chinese material, due to a concern of slave labor used in Chinese material.

He said he’d like to negotiate a tax abatement and a road use agreement over the next few months. The project discussion was tabled to a future meeting on a motion from Patterson.

Commissioner Graf asked Shontz if the company’s recently completed wind farm in the south part of the was in operation yet. “are they spinning? He asked.

Shontz said yes, but not generating yet. He said that testing was underway now to see if the voltage could be handled by the transmission lines and substations.

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