First Solar’s Topaz Solar Farm to operate for 35 years; habitat restoration agreement made

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Although the financial costs remain unknown, an agreement has been reached over conservation issues arising from the 550MW Topaz Solar Farm project that First Solar is developing in San Luis Obispo County, California. A lawsuit against the project started by North County Watch and Carrizo Commons is expected to be dropped.

Topaz Solar Farms, LLC, a subsidiary of First Solar is to operate the plant for 35-years, while many plants are often initially quoted to be operated for 25-years, though it is not known whether the massive project was initially planned that way.

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However, Topaz was said to have committed to decommissioning and restoration of habitat and previously planned preservation of off-site lands. The total off-site land area to be preserved in perpetuity was said to be approximately 22,000 acres.

Previously, land totalling approximately 26,000 acres was earmarked, though this included a SunPower project in the vicinity, not thought to be included in this preservation agreement.

The new agreement between First Solar, North County Watch and Carrizo Commons provides enhanced communication, collaboration, research and monitoring measures, including a Biological Working Group, according to First Solar.

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