Murray couple plans to develop solar farm; hopes to sell power to utilities, local towns

 

Robert Stevens

Managing editor

7/13/2017

 

FAIRVIEW—A Murray couple is making a bid to develop 15 acres of Sanpete County land into a solar energy farm.

Amy Werling says her and her husband Matt moved to Utah from Maryland two years ago for this purpose. They decided they wanted to build a solar energy farm after recognizing business potential in the renewable energy market.

“We had seen some things in magazines and on television and we thought it was awesome,” Werling said. “We could tell that the market was going to explode and we thought it would be great if we could find the right place to buy some land and develop, and break into the market.”

The only problem was that the large patch of land required to build a solar farm was prohibitively expensive in Maryland. Werling says the couple found a broker to seek out a piece of land that would suit their needs.

The broker found a suitable location in Utah, about one mile north of Fairview. It is a 17-acre property, but Werling says only 15 acres are usable.

“It’s a nice piece of land that’s not too close to the road,” Werling said. “It wouldn’t be an eyesore and it could really benefit the community, so we hope no one has any problems with the idea.”

The couple appeared before the Sanpete Planning Commission this week to apply for a conditional use permit, but the results of their request were not available at the time of print.

Werling says they are aiming to have a farm that will output renewable solar energy in the range of 2-5 megawatts.

“We are waiting for a developer to get back to us on the exact numbers,” Werling said. “It all depends on the number of panels and the setup.”

Werling added if they find the right developer and get the go-ahead from the county, they hope to sell power to Rocky Mountain Power [RMP], but the company has not confirmed it will purchase it. If they are unable to sell to RMP, she says they will look to local municipal power companies, or even potentially another state, but they would prefer to sell the renewable energy in Utah.

“We’d like to have this done yesterday,” she said, “but getting the logistics done is a big job for something like this. We’re just waiting for all the little pieces to fall into place.

“This [renewable energy] is the way things are going. We want to help take things in that direction.”