Largest Solar Farm in World Planned for Hollister Ca
Posted: Jan 19, 2010
HOLLISTER, CA – The Obama Administration is pushing for more alternative energy projects, and one proposed Central Coast Solar Farm would provide new jobs, as well as energy for hundreds of thousands of homes. But it’s being called “unfriendly to the environment.”
Silicon Valley-based Solargen Energy is proposing a Solar Farm project in a desolate area of San Benito County called the Panoche Valley, 25 miles South of Hollister.
Adam McAfee, CEO of Solargen says the company chose the region because “There’s a nice amount of sun that hits the Earth” in the Valley. To be precise, the remote area is 90% as sunny as the Mojave Desert. Because of that, the company hopes to create the largest solar farm in the world there.
McAfee describes the magnitude of the proposed farm: “Rough estimates are around three million solar panels, that’s a lot of panels.” Technically, the project would be seven times bigger than the world’s current largest solar farm, which is in Spain.
The proposed Central California solar plant would even generate enough energy to power a staggering 300,000 homes a year.
McAfee says, “When we use technologies that don’t emit carbon dioxide or bad green house gases it really helps our environment.”
But that’s not necessarily true. According to some environmentalists, “green energy” isn’t always green-friendly.
Shani Kleinhaus of the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society is concerned about the damage the farm may cause to the untouched land, and its inhabitants.
That’s because the Panoche Valley is home to several endangered species, including the San Joaquin Kit Fox, and the Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard. Additionally, more than 100 species of birds have appeared in the Valley, including the rare Bald and Golden Eagles.
Kleinhaus says she is attempting to stand on both sudes of the great green debate: “I try to weigh the pluses and minuses and I don’t see that this specific project will save the world, but I think it will definitely impact some very very endangered species.”
Two proposed Solar Projects in San Luis Obispo County, near the Carrizo Plain also are facing opposition.
Still, Solargen Executives maintain this proposed Solar Farm would bring more than 250 immediate jobs to the area, and the project could put California, as well as the Central Coast, on the map as a global leader in solar energy.