New solar project brings energy and jobs to Idaho

A solar farm is being constructed in Elmore County.

ELMORE COUNTY, IDAHO - There is something big in the making off of Interstate 84 east towards Mountain Home.

It's called the Simcoe Solar Project, and it will be capable of generating enough energy to power thousands of Idaho homes.

The solar farm is being built by Swinerton Renewable Energy out of San Diego, California. Project manager Mike Schott says Idaho is the perfect place for solar energy.

"The sun is great out here - you guys get quite a bit of sun actually," he said. "It doesn't have to be hot to get good production, the sun just has to shine."

The 20-megawatt solar farm has been under construction since September, and crews are expected to have it finished and commissioned into the Idaho power grid by early 2017.

The project brings more than just energy to Idaho. Schott says the solar farm helped create about 500 local jobs.

"Construction jobs, or local companies that we are using for materials, or operation and maintenance jobs after we leave and during the production of the site," said Schott.

The solar farm runs on a computer system that helps the energy panels adapt to where the sun is to create optimal energy.

"As the sun is coming up in the morning, these will wake up and start to rotate to the east and will pick up the sun as it comes over the mountains and just follows it till it sets,” Schott said.

So as long as there is a sun in the sky, the solar farm will pump out energy.

Schott says it’s a clean source of energy he is proud to work on.

"I've got a wife and kids, in my mind I look at what I can do that is better for the environment as we move forward and protect what we have here for future generations," said Schott.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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