Solar – Facilities
In this decision, the AUC approved an application from Lathom Solar LP, on behalf of its general partner Lathom Solar GP Ltd. (“Lathom Solar”) for permission to construct and operate the Lathom Solar Project (the “Project”).
The Project consists of a 120-megawatt solar Power Plant and an associated substation in the County of Newell. The Project and the substation will be located on agricultural land. The Project consists of approximately 340,000 bi-facial solar panels, 38 inverter and transformer stations, a 34.5-kilovolt underground collector system and a collector substation.
The Project will connect to an existing AltaLink Management Ltd. transmission line in the area. The Project is expected to come into service in December 2022, with construction beginning in April of 2022.
As Lathom Solar submitted that it had not yet finalized the design or equipment of the Project, the AUC, as a condition for approval, required Lathom Solar to file a letter to the AUC that identifies the make, model, and quantity of the equipment and the final equipment layout, no later than one month before beginning construction.
To ensure that the nearby dwelling and Highway 1 would experience no glare, the AUC required that anti-reflective coating be used on the Project solar panels. Further, regarding solar glare, the AUC noted that there are limitations to the solar glare assessment modeling due to the backtracking functionality of the proposed solar panel tracking system. To provide for issues resulting from these uncertainties, the AUC required Lathom Solar to file a report detailing any complaints or concerns it receives or is made aware of regarding solar glare from the Project during its first year of operation, as well as Lathom Solar’s response to the complaints and concerns.
As required by Rule 033: Post-approval Monitoring Requirements for Wind and Solar Power Plants Lathom Solar, the approval holder is further required to submit an annual post-construction monitoring survey report to AEP and the AUC. This report is to be filed within 13 months of the Project becoming operational.
The AUC considered the Project to be in the public interest. Lathom Solar’s application for construction and operation of the Lathom Solar Project and the application to construct and operate the associated substation was approved.