Solar usage pact protects public's land
It appears Yuma County will have another electricity generation site powered by the sun following action by the Yuma County Board of Supervisors this week.
The board gave its required approved for construction of the facility by Solar Electric Solutions of California. Plans call for it to be built on about 175 acres of mostly state-owned land near San Luis, Ariz. It would generate 20 megawatts of power.
There are economic benefits in the form of up to 150 workers to construct the plant as well as long term tax revenue over the estimated 30-year lifespan of the facility. A small workforce will be necessary to actually operate the plant.
Still, even with the economic benefits, it has taken a year to get approval due to opposition from some San Luis officials who felt its location could block growth of the city. A majority of San Luis City Council members eventually consented.
While solar power is a clean source of energy, unlike some other methods of generating electricity, there still is resistance at times. The sites require significant preparation and construction, leaving what some see as an “eyesore.”
For example, the San Luis solar facility will involve 89,000 ground-mounted, 6-foot tall photovoltaic arrays, according to site plans. It is simply the nature of solar generation, and it is a necessary part of moving to this valuable form of alternative energy. It is much preferable to the air pollution sometimes caused in the past to generate power.
Still, some will object, and that is why we were glad to see the agreement to lease the site from the state requires that the land be restored to its past status when the plant is decommissioned. That should ensure this public land is eventually available for other uses in the future.