The Imperial County Board of Supervisors has given the green light to Folsom’s 8minutenergy Renewables to build a series of large-scale solar projects that will result in the world’s largest solar farm. The decision was supported by environmental organizations Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, which has been working in partnership with 8minutenergy Renewables on the project. Among the primary concerns is a program that protects the habitat of the burrowing owl, a local threatened species.
"By working with the Sierra Club and the rest of the environmental community to provide additional stewardship for the burrowing owl they have demonstrated that they will go the extra mile," said Bill Corcoran, Western Regional Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in a press release.
The project will be constructed in three phases — Mount Signal Solar Farm and Calexico Solar Farms I & II — ultimately producing 600 megawatts of solar energy to more than 200,000 California households.
"We appreciate the approval of our solar projects by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors, and are proud to work proactively with the Sierra Club to protect and enhance biological resources in the Imperial Valley," said Tom Buttgenbach, President of 8minutenergy Renewables. "This is a strong example of how solar energy developers can work proactively and collaboratively with the local community and government, as well as with environmental and labor leaders to create a win-win-win for everyone involved."
The project is expected to create nearly 700 construction jobs over three years, and close to 100 permanent jobs in the region.