County supervisors approve solar project

By JAMES BURGER, Californian staff writer  |  The Bakersfield Californian  |  Link to article

Kern County supervisors blessed a 6,047-acre solar project between Taft and Interstate 5 on Tuesday.

The 700-megawatt project will place photovoltaic solar panels on 4,868 of those 6,047 acres, converting the land from agricultural uses to industrial power generation.

Developer Maricopa Sun LLC President Jeff Roberts of Fresno said the company, which is affiliated with Granville Homes, bought the land eight years ago but couldn’t farm it because it lacked a critical component of the agricultural process: “This is land we tried for eight years to find water for,” he said.

So the company chose to convert the land, which is broken up into a mish-mash of parcels that stretch in a long line from I-5 west to Taft, into a solar power project.

Roberts said Maricopa Sun, as the property owner, is partnering with several solar power companies to develop the land. Those companies are in the process of developing purchase agreements with power companies to sell the energy the project would produce.

He said Kern County planning staff have estimated that the project, when built out, would produce enough electricity to consistently power 300,000 homes. But Roberts believes that is a conservative number. (read complete article)