A lot of abandoned farmland in the Town of Clay, CA has been chosen for a new community solar site. NextEra Energy is bringing a new solar facility to the town and has recently closed on a rural plot located on Verplank Road. As with many parcels of rural land throughout the United States, the owners have decided to shift their focus from generating crops to providing clean, renewable energy to residents of Clay.
According to the town’s supervisor Damian Ulatowski, the land’s previous owners were still paying taxes while generating little to no revenue. By selling to NextEra Energy, they not only make money off of their parcel, but they also play an integral role in delivering otherwise unobtainable resources to local neighborhoods.
NextEra plans on taking 32 acres of the former farmland and turning it into a 5-megawatt community solar site. The facility is expected to generate enough energy to power upwards of 1,000 homes in Clay. Ulatowski confirmed that all power generated from the facility will be filtered into the town’s energy grid. That will then be optioned to residents, who can subscribe to the community solar project.
Like similar solar programs, NextEra will offer the energy to homeowners that are otherwise unable to add solar panels to their property. Community solar opens the clean energy source up to low- to middle-income residents and renters that either can’t afford or have no space to install the costly panels. Ulatowski emphasized that the solar facility supports an initiative started by the Governor to increase the presence of alternative resources throughout the town.
With the site chosen for NextEra’s latest community solar installation, development can proceed. Based on the solar provider’s current plan, the new facility is expected to live in the first quarter of 2021. There is currently no word on when NextEra will open subscriptions.