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SUP Amendment OK’d for Navajo County Solar Facility

Credit: Navajo County

By Tasha Anderson for AZBEX 

Global energy storage developer, Invenergy LLC, is requesting a Special Use Permit Amendment from Navajo County in order to construct a 400 MW photovoltaic solar and energy storage facility south of Joseph City, called Hashknife Energy Center. 

The Special Use Permit Amendment, which was recommended for approval at the Navajo County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on June 18th, was specifically to expand the previously approved 3,000-acre site area to approximately 3,960 acres. The original Special Use Permit was approved by the Navajo County Board of Supervisors back in November 2019. 

The Hashknife Energy Center will generate up to 400 MW of electricity using “Single axis tracking photovoltaic solar panels connected to electrical infrastructure and transmitted to the interconnection point at Cholla substation at the Arizona Public Service owned Cholla Power Plant,” according to the documents submitted to the county.  

The project will also include a 1.2KSF control house to store communications equipment, and a 1.2KSF operations and maintenance building to house documents, equipment and to use as workspace for maintenance staff. Both will include HVAC systems and be provided with fire extinguishers, eye-wash stations and smoke detectors. 

Other aspects of the project include: 

  • Access and perimeter roads 
  • 30-foot tall energy storage building 
  • Collector substation 
  • 500 kV generation tie-in line 
  • Parking areas and storage 
  • Inverters and collection system 
  • Security fencing 

The security fencing will be six feet in height and topped with barbed wire and motion-activated lighting. Access to the site will be controlled by gates. 

The documents note that there will be no substantial grading and the vegetation on and near the site will remain sparse so that the risk of wildfires remain low. 

“The project will generate over $15M in property tax revenue through the life of the project and will support 200-400 jobs during construction and 3-5 full-time jobs during operations,” the documents state. “Solar energy has proven to be successful in rural communities across Arizona, bringing new local jobs, additional revenue for landowners, and adding to the tax base to support schools and emergency response services.” 

According to the project schedule, construction of the facility is expected to begin in Q1 2022 with commercial operations set for Q4 2022. 

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