Santa Barbara County’s first, large solar energy project has cleared another hurdle.
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors certified the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed 40-megawatt solar farm on more than 325 acres of farm land in the Cuyama Valley.
The Board also approved tentative cancellation of a Williamson Act contract protecting the farm land that’s been used to grow carrots.
The solar farm project has been in the works for about five years.
“Its been a little slow going primarily because the county zoning ordinance presently does not allow for utility-scale solar projects”, says project consultant Laurel Perez, “a component of this project will result in a revision to the county zoning ordinance to allow permitting of a project of this type.”
If the project is given final approval, construction could begin next year and be completed in 2016.
The company behind the Cuyama Valley solar farm project, First Solar, says at maximum capacity the farm will produce enough energy to power some 16,000 homes.