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Montana cryptocurrency producers back a utility-scale solar project

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The 300 MW Basin Creek Solar Project would be built on ranch land in Butte and would supply energy to an expanding data center.

Local news reports said that Madison River Equity LLC will seek a special use permit next month from a Montana zoning board for a 300 MW, 1,600-acre solar array known as the Basin Creek Solar Project to be built on private ranch land in Butte.

Madison River Equity is a unit of an entity that developed the Atlas Power data center near the proposed solar project. Atlas Power mines cryptocurrency and reportedly plans to expand its Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), adding new buildings and thousands of additional GPUs. If all the permits are acquired, Atlas Power’s owners would buy the Basin Creek Solar Project to power the data center.

Roughly 700,000 solar panels would be placed on either side of a seasonal drainage channel, with a 1,500-foot wide corridor left in the middle for wildlife. Developers said the array would be large enough to power around 40,000 homes. Butte has around 15,000 homes.

The Solar Energy Industries Association reported that as of the fourth quarter of 2020, Montana had roughly 116 MW of solar capacity installed, ranking it 43rd in the nation.

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