ROSAMOND, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Raceway solar project in Rosamond Tuesday. The AES Corporation building the project says they expect it to be online and functional by the end of next year.
The Raceway 2.0 project is supposed to span over a thousand acres, have about 680,000 solar panels, and be able to store at least 80 megawatts of energy in a battery storage facility.
“This has been a difficult project to consider,“ said Supervisor Zack Scrivner, District 2.
The project, which is expected to generate about 271 megawatts of electricity, has been in the works for about six years and has faced pushback for different reasons.
“Proximity to a neighborhood is a concern for me,“ said Scrivner.
Sallie Phillips, a resident of Rosamond, attended the meeting in opposition to the project because she worries about the impact that it can have on the environment around her, and other homes in the area.
"We have written letters. There are more people who have written letters to object but again, it’s projects and money over people, and that’s just how I feel.”
John Cardwell with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) agrees with the proposal and hopes the project will come to fruition
“For the amount of jobs and economic growth, it brings to the community, the opportunities that it brings to our young men and women of the community.”
Constructing a battery storage facility is a new addition to the proposal from when it was presented to the board in late July. Since this facility won’t be exempted from property taxes, it can help generate revenue for the county and helped tipped the scales to get the project approved.
Even though the project is supposed to employ about 200 people for construction, it will only need about 3-4 people to maintain and operate the plant once it is constructed.