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Solar Generic

A huge solar project to be located in Kings County is in the planning stages, and developers are happy to possibly be coming back to the area.

Recurrent Energy, a project developer for solar and energy storage systems, is in talks with the county for a multi-year project, said Kelley Vendeland, director of marketing and communications for the company.

Mike Toomey, director of development for Recurrent Energy, said the new project, called the Slate project, is in the early stages and the company is currently working with the county on what the next steps will be.

Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar, develops projects primarily in California and Texas. The 300-megawatt project in Kings County would be located close to Lemoore on around 2,700 acres.

The county hasn’t provided Recurrent Energy with an official address yet, but the project location is described as being bounded by Avenal Cutoff Road to the northwest, Jackson Avenue to the north, the Kings River and 23rd Avenue to the east, and Laurel Avenue to the south.

The west boundary mainly follows unnamed, dirt agricultural roadways, Vendeland said. She said the land hasn’t been farmed in years, so it’s a good place for the project that puts the land back in use.

Vendeland said all the exact details of the project aren’t definite yet and variations are all being considered and looked at by both the company and the county to make sure everything works out.

This is not the first solar project for Recurrent Energy in Kings County. The company completed a 1,000-acre solar power facility on 25th Avenue near Lemoore in 2016 called the Mustang project.

“We’ve worked in Kings County and have had a lot of success,” Toomey said.

The Sentinel previously reported that at its peak, the 100-megawatt Mustang project created 450 jobs and generated $3.1 million in local spending on construction materials, services, food and housing. Vendeland said 76 percent of workers on that project were from a 50-mile radius of the project site.

“We expect the same from the Slate project,” Vendeland said.

Toomey said he expects this project would create about 560 jobs. He said the county has been proactive and very encouraging of the project.

When the project would start construction depends on a lot of factors, like negotiating a contract with a large energy buyer, but Toomey said he doesn’t expect work to start before the third quarter of 2019.

Toomey said major utility companies like PG&E and Southern California Edison have contracted with Recurrent Energy, but it is open to a wide variety of potential customers.

Once construction starts, Toomey said the project could take about 19 months to complete.

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News Reporter

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