Contractors have given notice they will begin construction on the big California Flrst Solar Project to be built just off of Hyw 41 near Chalome. Located in Monterey County First Solar is developing a 280 megawatt (MW) alternating current (AC) solar project located on approximately 2,900 acres of previously dryland farmed, private land in southeast Monterey County, California, near the San Luis Obispo, Kings and Fresno County border.
This week notice was posted that they would be exercising a Conditional Use Permit to improve an existing 3.3 mile long agricultural road, and to establish a 4-acre and 0.5-acre temporary construction staging area adjacent to HW 41.
The project site is currently part of the 72,000-acre “Jack Ranch,” which is owned by the Hearst Corporation and currently operated as a cattle ranch.
In a July 10 press release, several conservation groups announced “Over recent months, with the assistance of Gov. Jerry Brown’s office, the conservation groups and First Solar, developer of the California Flats project, have worked together to design and implement strategies to protect and enhance the important habitat in the vicinity of the project in order to better balance environmental impacts of the project while allowing new sources of renewable energy to be built.”
As part toe staging effort,improvements to the agricultural road include widening from approximately 18 ft to 30 ft, drainage improvements and installation of decomposed granite road base. The proposed improvements to the agricultural road are intended to provide access and to serve construction of the plant, the third large solar farm located in the interior foothills of the Central Coast
The project is expect to be in operation by the end 2016 employing around 500 in the construction effort. California Flats Solar Project has a power purchase agreement (PPA) with both PG&E and Apple, Inc. to deliver clean, solar energy for 25 years.