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The Madera Tribune

Solar debate heats up as farmland is targeted

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webmaster | 03/15/12

FRESNO (AP) — With its ample sunshine and high crop production, Fresno County has been a hotbed for the debate pitting solar farms against agriculture.

This week, officials approved a plan to regulate new solar projects, though the decision falls short of what both sides wanted.

The county currently has 29 solar projects on 11,000 acres in the pipeline. But growers have argued for limits on using land to harvest sunshine, saying it cuts into ag production.

Under the new regulations, officials will consider the yields of crops produced on the land in deciding whether to issue conditional use permits. To the disappointment of some, solar projects will not be directed toward land that’s undesirable for growing crops.

Solar developers say the new rules allow officials to consider each project on a case-by-case basis.


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