Thursday, September 1, 2011

First Solar’s AVSolarRanchOne to begin Construction near Lancaster, Ca. Albeit some Objections

Excerpts from Patric Hedlund The Mountain Enterprise

Forbes Magazine has named First Solar the fastest growing technology company for two years running. First Solar is an $11 billion corporation, and it has a large operation proposed in Antelope Valley’s Fairmount Butte. They have a $215 federal incentive to commence building AVSolarRanchOne by September 1. It will be a 230 megawatt system on 2100 acres and employ 300 during the construction faze.

According to the Mountain Enterprise news reports as of August 1st First Solar’s AV RanchOne has received final discretionary permits which allow them to mobilize for construction. Mobilization primarily consists of bringing temporary facilities and infrastructure onto the site (temporary construction offices and utilities) to support the start of construction. With this permitting approval, they are released to begin mobilization at any time. They expect to commence construction activities by the September decline.

Yet, there is resistance and obstruction from residences and government agencies. The resistance from local residents in Antelope Valley is primarily that they have not been fully informed. There was even a threat to file a restraining order to stop construction, but that was tabled. There is similar objection in Tehachapi, Ca to the Alta Wind Energy Center in Tehachapi, Ca. as there will be thousands of wind towers going up in the next year. There are approximately 2000 residents in Fairmount Butt area which is about 15 mile west of Lancaster, Ca. yet they have a voice to in this large solar facility construction. Additionally, there is a proposal by Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit to introduce a two percent franchise fee for First Solar installation planned in Riverside County and that motion is pending. It could produce revenues of $3.5 million a year for Riverside County. There are indications from First Solar that they would not agree to pay that fee.

Most Californian’s would agree that alternative energy is essential for the State’s future growth and energy needs, but nobody wants a facility in their neighborhood. We think the project will prevail despite objections, and potential additional government taxes. This will invariably increase vacant land property values in the long term, as solar site assume a large amount of property. Buying low in this current market and holding long term for future growth is still a sound business and personal investment. Go to for land opportunities.

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