A rectangular shaped parcel of just over 200 acres at 100th Street West and Ave H has won preliminary approval for solar development by the City of Lancaster planning commission. TA High Desert LLC (Tuusso Energy) plans to construct of a 20 megawatt solar photovoltaic electric generation facility on rural residential zoned land in Los Angeles County. This land has been typically vacant land or farm land, but the green energy economy has changed the future for rural Los Angeles land.
The location is designated NU (Non-Urban Residential) by the General Plan and is zoned RR 2.5 (Rural Residential 2.5 one dwelling unit per 2.5 acres), and this site is currently unused. This proposed project would operate year round with a production of up to 20 megawatts of renewable electric power during daytime hours. Tuusso Energy has a 20 year agreement with Southern California Edison to supply electricity generated by the proposed project. The project needs to clear a few environmental, biological, and mitigation steps.
The environmental review documents have disclosed no significant adverse impacts resulting from the proposed project after mitigation measures have been applied.
The photovoltaic panels and trackers are silent and low profile of six feet to eight feet depending on the position of the sun, so visual impact would be minimal. In order to further reduce any impacts, Tuusso Energy would install a line of trees along Avenue I and H, 100th Street West, and 97th Street West that would provide additional screening of the site. Additionally, two biological resource surveys were conducted for the location which found approximately 160 acres of potential foraging habitat within 10 miles of a hawk’s nest, thus the removal of the 200 acres of potential foraging habitat would be minimal. Also, mitigation measures are required to ensure that impacts to biological resources remain less than significant. Once these mitigation measures are taken the board found that the potential impacts to any special status species would be reduced. They also indicated that the projects construction and materials will not pose any environmental hazard to the local community.
This project appears to have met all the necessary requirements for implementation, and it was done in under a year. The landscape of Antelope Valley has been rapidly changing, and this exercise shows the potential for profits outside of typically residential building can be found in the valley as the State moves to green energy.