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Solar plants nearly complete in Reed Point and Hardin - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Solar plants nearly complete in Reed Point and Hardin

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Two solar energy farms are under construction near Hardin and Reed Point.

Cypress Creek Renewables in California is building its 18 acre River Bend Solar Project just inside Sweet Grass County, right next to Reed Point in Stillwater County.

"A good site is one that is near infrastructure and also has to have decently flat open ground and willing land owner,"  said Amy Berg Pickett, northwest zoning manager/outreach for Cypress Creek.

The River Bend project will be a two megawatt plant that can produce electricity for about 360 homes.

"NorthWestern Energy customers will be utilizing that energy as part of their normal electricity that goes to houses and businesses," she said.

Sweet Grass County Commissioners approved a 50 percent tax decrease for the first five years and smaller decreases until the 10th year for River Bend.

"We granted a tax abatement for River Bend Solar," said Commissioner Bill Wallace. "It is kind of saying you're open for business. If we can help lower the county's mill levies on the individuals, of course, it's a win-win."

In Big Horn County, Cypress Creek is building a 30 acre, three megawatt plant outside Hardin that would power about 540 homes,.

"The project covers about 50 percent of the entire site," Pickett said.

The project also will bring more tax revenue to Big Horn County.

"They bring long term increased tax base to counties and cities without impacting their infrastructure," Pickett said. "The technology is very advanced so they do a great job."

Pickett said construction should be complete on both projects in about one month.

Cypress Creek Renewables is also building a solar farm in Helena.

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