Phelan Solar Field Plan Irks Residents

(January 28)  PHELAN—A proposal by SunEdison in conjunction with the Snowline Joint Unified School District to establish a 50-acre solar project in Phelan has run into opposition by several local residents.
SunEdison wants to locate the 5.8-megawatt photovoltaic solar farm west of White Road and north of Muscatel Street in Phelan. The school district owns the property and has agreed to lease it to the company in exchange for 4 percent of revenues generated there.
The company is not affiliated with Southern California Edison. It was founded in 2003 by Jigar Shah and owns and operates power plants in North America and provides solar-generated energy to commercial, government, and utility customers. Sun Edison LLC was formerly headquartered in Beltsville, Maryland, but now has its main corporate office in Belmont, California with additional offices in Denver, Colorado and San Clemente, Sacramento, and the city of  Ontario.
In 2010, SunEdison completed construction on seven megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants in Spain. In December 2007, SunEdison completed an 8.22 MW, 80-acre solar power system in Colorado. SunEdison has built fields with a generation capability of 52 megawatts and retains control over facilities with 31 MW of generating capability.
In November of 2009, Shah relinquished SunEdison for $200 million to MEMC Electronic Materials.
A number of Phelan residents said they were in strong opposition to the project proposal, including the parents of children attending school in the Snowline district. The district, which serves the communities of Phelan, Pinon Hills and Wrightwood, believes it can net as much as $100,000 annually through its participation in the project.
The district, which in 2011 arranged with SunEdison for the construction of solar energy generating systems at Serrano High School, Pinon Mesa Middle, Quail Valley Middle and Vista Verde Elementary, gave notice of its intent to work with SunEdison on the Phelan project in August.
SunEdison has since applied with the county’s Land Use Services Division for a project permit. Land Use Services will continue to accept public input on the proposal through February 10.

Leave a Reply