City Manager Martin Casey

LOOKING AT THE FUTURE — City Manager Martin Casey gazes upon the expanse of property that may one day be home to solar panels.

SUNNYSIDE — Activity on the city-owned “Monson feedlot property” may be on the horizon.

One Energy Renewables is looking at building a solar farm there and has received a $500,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce for a feasibility and development study.

The funding was approved as part of a $1.6 million Clean Energy Fund package last week.

Two other projects on the west side of the state by Peninsula Light Co. and TUUSSO Energy also received funding.

City Manager Martin Casey said the One Energy project would be located on the east end of the Monson property, spanning as far as what used to serve as a weigh station for the feedlot.

“It will bring economic investment to the property, and it’s a cool way to renew the site,” One Energy Project Manager Blake Bjornson said.

“One Energy is negotiating with Pacific Power,” he said.

A lease agreement has already been approved by the Sunnyside City Council.

“This is a very positive step for the city and the region,” he said.

Bjornson said it isn’t known how many solar panels will be located on the site because different design parameters determine that factor, but the company anticipates a maximum output of 3 megawatts, enough to supply energy for 650 homes annually.

“There are a lot of steps to got through before it is realized,” Casey noted.

“We’re excited to work on this project… the property is nice and flat,” Bjornson said, adding the funding from the Department of Commerce allows his company to advance the project.

“One Energy has a lot of business considerations before production, but it’s a promising start,” Casey concluded.

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