Riverside County set to approve 40-acre solar power project

Canadian company wants to build solar power generating facility east of Coachella Valley near Desert Center

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Riverside County supervisors are expected today to sign off on a development agreement with a solar power provider seeking to build on a 40-acre site north of Desert Center.

Following a Board of Supervisors' hearing last week, Ontario, Canada-based Canadian Solar Inc. received tentative approval to move ahead with its Indigo Ranch Project in the Victory Pass. Construction of the solar power-generating facility is scheduled to begin in June.

According to county Transportation and Land Management Agency documents, Indigo Ranch, once complete, will provide 4.5 megawatts of photovoltaic energy to Southern California Edison customers. An environmental impact report  certified by the board found the project posed no significant hazards to the local area, which is largely uninhabited desert east of Eagle Mountain, off of Rice Road.

SCE has a 20-year power purchasing agreement locked in with the developer, with the option of re-upping for another 10 years. The development agreement with the county calls for sales and use-tax revenue stemming from the project to go into county coffers, by way of the State Board of Equalization, TLMA documents indicated.

The county also stands to net up to $101,000 in development impact fee revenue, according to documents. However, county officials noted in the agreement that the current per-acre rate of $2,543 could change -- raising or lowering development impact fees -- depending on what the board decides when DIFs are revised in the coming weeks.

According to the TLMA, because of its location, the project is exempt from board policy B-29, under which solar developers are required to make ongoing payments of $150 per ace to ensure the county is compensated for utilization of land that might otherwise go to farming, recreation and housing, as well as for the permanent alteration of pristine desert landscapes.   

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