By Daniel Tucker, Editor
Representatives with the North Carolina-based Pine Gate Renewables say they are developing a complete project plan for the Rio Lago Solar Farm on the former Montague Ranch off FM 3240, with construction expected mid-2023 for a 2024 launch. According to Pine Gate officials, the name was updated from Montague Solar to Rio Lago Solar following input from the Bandera community.
Information from https://pinegaterenewables.com/rio-lago says the farm would product 120 megawatts of clean, cost-effective, reliable energy, which is enough to power up to an estimated 22,800 homes on the Texas grid annually.
Pine Gate representatives told the Bulletin they are still in the process of meeting with local leaders and organizations as they develop their plan for the project, which they estimate will bring 150 million investments to the county and 200 local jobs during development and construction of the project.
Based on feedback already received, Pine Gate has increased the project’s setback along 3240 and will plant shrubs at key points along the fenceline, officials say. Pine Gate says they will also bury power lines underground and build a wall around the substation on 3240.
Pine Gate will present the project plan to the public and address any concerns and be as transparent as possible about all facets of the project, officials say. The company says the 1,000- acre solar farm will blend in with the natural surroundings and will be set up at least 200 feet away from 3240 and 50 feet from property lines, with a vegetive buffer enclosing some of the project and adjoining properties
Pine Gate told the Bulletin their SolarCulture™ Initiative works to protect and preserve the land where the solar farm is located and will help native plants and animals thrive. Furthermore, Pine Gate says the underlying land will be undisturbed by humans, pesticides and other damaging factors.
Alan Hancock, Senior Manager of Community Engagement with Pine Gate, told the Bulletin, “We are excited to be a part of building reliable energy solutions here in Texas and are committed to engaging with the communities where we have projects.
“Bandera has such a rich Texas history and we look forward to being a good neighbor and community partner for the long term. We will continue our conversations with community members and will keep an open dialogue with the community as the project progresses,” he said.
Officials told the Bulletin the final contract is not yet finalized, but the panels are built to last up to 40 years, and a decommissioning plan will be in place to safely remove all materials at the end of the project.
Should the contract be renewed, the same approach would still apply if Pine Gate Renewables were involved, officials say.