Fresno Co. approves 1.25MW solar facility near Reedley

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to move forward a 1.25-megawatt solar facility near Reedley, passing over a local resident's opposition to the project.

The project, proposed by Pristine Sun Solar of San Francisco, is sited on two agricultural parcels totaling 46 acres along S. Englehart Avenue between Central and American avenues about five miles northeast of Reedley.

When complete, 5,760 photovoltaic panels on 125 dual-axis trackers will follow the sun during the day, feeding PG&E's Reedley substation with enough electricity to power 1,250 homes at peak production.

The project also entails a pad-mounted inverter/transformer unit and seven utility poles 36-feet tall, along with two access roads and overhead transmission lines across Wahtoke Creek to the north.

Although the project was approved by the Fresno County planning commission on April 25, nearby property owner Todd Case had something else to say.

In an appeal to the planning commission's decision filed to the board of supervisors on May 9, Case cited concerns of the project disturbing local wildlife, causing flooding, fires and upsetting 1,825 graves located on-site.

Case appeared before the board of supervisors yesterday also grieving the potential loss in property values and not wanting to live next to such a facility.

In the end, four supervisors voted to uphold the planning commission's approval with only Supervisor Judy Case opposing.

The same vote was cast to approve a partial cancellation of agricultural land contracted to receive property tax credits under the Williamson Act.

In all, 44.18 acres of grazing land are being taken out of the Williamson Act to develop the site, while a cancelation fee will bring a total of $37,500 to the California Department of Conservation.

The solar facility will be separated by a buffer of 50 feet from the nearest agricultural operations.

Pristine Sun said it will provide an estimated $99,625 to restore the site to its former condition after around 20 years when the facility ceases operation.