Solar field going in at TRI | NevadaAppeal.com
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Solar field going in at TRI

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

A solar panel field designed to provide renewable energy necessary for Barrick Goldstrike to meet state regulations will be built next to the company’s power plant at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.

Barrick Goldstrike, an international gold mining company, was granted its request for the solar field at the Storey County Planning Commission meeting Thursday.

Larry Morassr, general manager for the plant, said the company bought 10 acres adjoining its property to create a solar field that will cover most of the 10 acres with solar panels 3-by-5 feet, about 3 feet off the ground. He said these panels will be attached to a mechanism that would allow the panels to track the sun as the Earth’s rotation causes it to move from east to west.

“This system, called a solar photovoltaic system, takes the energy from the solar that the panel collects and it’s converted directly to electric power,” Morassr said.

The company will build carports over its parking lot where employees park and put additional solar panels there, he said.

Morassr said the panels would be situated in such a way that there would be no glare on nearby Interstate 80 or Waltham Way. The field will be enclosed with a 6-foot cyclone fence topped with barbed wire.

This solar field will be the largest such installation in Northern Nevada, Morassr said, and the first in Storey County. It will produce 1 megawatt of electricity, or 1,000 kilowatt hours, enough to power 660 homes, he said.

Morassr said the generation of renewable energy is a requirement set by the Nevada Public Utility Commission, that 9 percent of a power plant’s energy come from renewable resources such as geothermal or wind, and that 5 percent of that had to be from solar power. He added the company would use the energy at its plant.

“We use it for the auxiliary services in the plant,” he said. “The bulk of it will be used to feed the mechanical systems and pumps inside the plant during the day.”

Storey County Building Administrator Dean Haymore supported the project.

“This is something that we want to have coming into Storey County ,” he said. “This is one of those visuals I’d like to have people see, that we’re putting back into the environment.”

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.