Proposals for two East Bay community solar projects have been submitted for development in an otherwise undeveloped area of Livermore, CA. The plans call for building two solar installations on agricultural land. Despite some pushback from the community as it will take up open space, the proposal has been moved forward for approval.
The two East Bay community solar projects are being helmed by Intersect Power of San Francisco and Oakland’s SunWalker Energy. Intersect’s is a proposed 410-acre installation located 2.5 miles north of Livermore. The SunWalker Energy plant, known as the Livermore Community Solar Farm, will take up only 81 acres of land.
The proposed community solar projects are expected to generate power for approximately 25,000 homes and local businesses. As with most community solar programs, they will benefit lower to middle-income households and allow them the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of solar energy. Subscribers to the community solar program also receive monthly credits on their utility bills related to how much solar energy they’re signed up for.
And will sit on North Livermore Avenue, next to May School and Manning roads. All panels used in the project’s development will be 8-feet above the ground. Unfortunately, the arrays will be visible to the public, but the development teams are planning for landscaping that would help lessen the visual impact.
The two projects have faced opposition from residents, stating that they want development placed on hold to let Alameda County draft large-scale solar construction policies. Livermore resident Sue Springer was vocal about her concerns regarding the project. During a virtual county board of supervisors committee meeting on Tuesday, she stated that the installations could permanently destroy the environment.
Even the Livermore City Council took issues with large-scale solar installations being built. On Aug. 10, the council requested a delay to give time for policies to be put into place. A month earlier, the Alameda County Agricultural Advisory Committee also spoke out against new developments in favor of waiting for policies.
Calls for policy have been ongoing since 2011, though none have been issued. Despite this, proposals for community solar development in Livermore have moved forward. Albert Lopez, county planning director, stated on Tuesday that he’s confident development policies will be submitted within 60 days, and the East Bay community solar projects will be able to move ahead without issue.