Sunday, May 29, 2011

Arizona town OKs 300-acre solar farm, nixing landowners who fear lower property values

The town council in Chino Valley, Ariz., has approved construction of a 300-acre solar-energy farm over the objection of adjoining landowners. "The meeting marked the end of a contentious debate between the state's largest utility and a group of town residents who have concerns about the farm," reports Jason Soifer of the Daily Courier in Prescott. (MapQuest image locates Chino Valley)

"Arizona Public Service now has the green light to buy 298 acres of the James Deep Well Ranch property for an $88 million solar farm project," Soifer writes. "SunEdison will build the farm, with nearly 81,000 photovoltaic panels, and then hand the keys over to the utility to run over the next 30 years." The utility will plant "trees between the fence and the roughly 70 properties that will eventually watch their serene backyard views turn partially to black." (Read more)

In an editorial, the Courier said, "this is not your typical NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) drum-beating. By the time SunEdison builds and APS operates the nearly 81,000 photovoltaic panels - a 'sea of black,' in the words of Chino Valley Vice-Mayor Ron Romley - on what is now a wide open section of rural serenity, those homeowners, about 70 properties, will have a much different view of renewable energy's 'benefits.' Property values will likely take a hit - in fact, it's already happening." (Read more)

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