Proposed Solar Facility Certified by California for Fast-Track Environmental Review

Soitec’s proposed utility-scale solar facilities in San Diego County are the third project in California to be certified by Governor Brown for fast-tracked judicial and legislative review under the terms of the Jobs and Economic Improvement Act of 2011, commonly known as AB 900.

Apple’s new Cupertino campus and the McCoy solar project in Riverside County were previously certified.

AB 900 was passed to cut red tape and encourage development of clean energy and innovative projects. The legislation directs certified projects with on-going CEQA litigation to the California Court of Appeal, and requires that decisions on the merits are made in a relatively short timeframe.

Soitec’s San Diego projects qualified based on their innovative concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology and the economic and environmental benefits to the county, including:

  • a capital investment of approximately $469 million,
  • the creation of new high-wage, highly skilled jobs, including hundreds of temporary construction jobs, and 30-40 permanent jobs,
  • Soitec’s commitment to offset all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which when combined with the projects’ offset of fossil-fuel powered electricity generation, will result in a substantial reduction in GHG emissions.

Dudek air quality specialists prepared the technical report evaluating GHG emissions from construction and operation of Soitec’s proposed 60-megawatt (MW) Tierra del Sol facility.

The technical report determined that Tierra del Sol could generate up to 1.66 million kilowatt-hours per year while potentially reducing carbon dioxide and other GHG emissions by 81,000 metric tons a year, compared to a fossil-fuel power plant generating the equivalent electricity. That amounts to 2.44 million metric tons less of GHG over Tierra del Sol’s lifetime.

While these potential reductions more than offset the GHG emissions generated by construction and operation of the project, Soitec also agreed to purchase voluntary GHG credits from a qualified emissions broker to fully meet the criteria of AB 900.

The GHG technical report prepared by Dudek served as the technical evaluation supporting the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project, as well as technical input for the preparation of the AB 900 application.