County OKs San Luis solar permit
The Yuma County Board of Supervisors has granted the permit necessary for a solar power plant to be built in San Luis, Ariz.
The permit is a step toward the border city being home to the 20-megawatt solar plant that has been before the San Luis and Yuma County governments for more than a year. The supervisors granted the permit on Monday.
California company Solar Electric Solutions seeks to build the facility on 175 acres — most of it state-owned land — in eastern San Luis, near Juan Sanchez Boulevard and Avenue F. The site is a county island, or a patch of unincorporated land surrounded by city limits.
Roughly 89,000 ground-mounted, six-foot-tall photovoltaic panels would produce electricity to be sent to the nearby Arizona Public Service Baja substation for distribution. The life expectancy of the project is 30 years.
The company estimated that the project would generate more than $3 million in tax revenues over its lifetime. Construction will take about a year and require 130-150 workers during peak building time, although upon completion, it will be operated remotely, with a local staff of five for security, maintenance and repair.
Yuma County wouldn't approve the project without a letter from the San Luis City Council endorsing the plant, and agreement — which is still not unanimous — took some time to reach. In addition, the supervisors rejected the permit in September.
With two members dissenting, the council penned a letter of support to the county in September of this year. The endorsement came after two previously unsuccessful attempts with a different council makeup.
The council split over the solar field being an impediment to development as San Luis grows, while the supervisors not only agreed that San Luis should be able to dictate its growth but were skeptical about the plant providing significant economic impact since government incentives can substantially reduce solar plants' tax burdens.
When the solar facility is decommissioned, the company is to restore the state land to Arizona State Land Department specifications.
Hillary Davis can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.