First Solar’s AV Solar Ranch One project has come up against some last-minute concerns voiced by local residents, according to a report on Greentech Media. Plans to begin construction of the Antelope Valley, CA, solar plant in early July could be pushed back if townspeople of nearby Fairmont file an injunction to delay the effort.
The story says that locals “are adamant about on-the-ground issues, like fences that will surround the 230-megawatt installation, the effect of fenced-off desert on hiking, horseback riding and other recreation, the impact of dust coming off the cleared and leveled land, and of wildlife displaced to their yards in the process.”
“They are even more concerned with how much water Solar Ranch One will require, who will administer desert lands purchased by First Solar to mitigate the project’s impacts, who will get the jobs at Solar Ranch One, and what public benefits First Solar will offer Fairmont in return for permanently altering the community,” according to the report.
The PV company contends that it has had over a hundred meetings with local groups since the project was announced and has addressed a wide variety of mitigation issues in its environmental impact study, the story notes.
Many of the reasons for the unexpected uproar seem to stem from local jurisdictional disputes. The people of Fairmont recently created their own town council, in an effort to split away from nearby Antelope Acres, the authority with which First Solar conducted business.
The complete GTM story can be found here.