Cal Poly seeking to build 18.5 acre solar farm
July 12, 2016
By John Lindt, Sierra 2 the Sea
Cal Poly is seeking to build a five-megawatt solar farm on their land located on the east side of Highway 1 near the California Men’s Colony.
Plans are for the solar farm, with 1,500 solar modules, to be built and operating within a year, said Joel Neel, Cal Poly director of facilities planning. With the addition of a one megawatt rooftop solar project currently under construction and the solar farm, the university will have enough in-house solar power generation to provide the majority of its power needs, Neel said.
If approved, the 18.5 acre solar farm will be located on Gold Tree Road next to the PG&E substation. The facility will be designed to reduce visibility to motorists passing by on Highway 1.
“We know the facility is located along the scenic corridor as you enter San Luis Obispo, but we think it is fairly inconspicuous,” Neel said.
The university plans to have a private developer build the solar farm, and then sell the power back to the campus. If approved, construction could start in the next few months.
“We are working to have most – if not all our power – come from renewables,” Neel said. “There is still some interest in developing wind power on campus land as well.”
Final approval of the project, based on a mitigated negative declaration, rests with the vice chancellors office.