Huron hooks up solar power

Littleton, Colo.-based SolarGen USA plans to ink a deal today with the city of Huron for a $50 million solar farm, officials said.

The 5 megawatt installation would be on a 40-acre site in the community of about 6,900 people in western Fresno County. The project marks the "initiation of a new future," said Rey Leon, executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement & Policy Project, in a statement.

"This will generate blue collar employment," Leon said. "But our hope is that the youth can see this project and work toward being the white-collar leaders in a new green world. It has always been the custom of Huron, β€œthe Heart of the Valley,” to harvest food for the rest of the planet, and it is appropriate that it will now begin to harvest the sun."

SolarGen expects to break ground on the installation at year's end, said Carmine Iadarola, a principal with the company. Completion would come three to four months later, he said.

The company intends to lease the site from the city. Those payments and associated taxes would go to Huron coffers. "We hope to generate quite a bit of revenue for the city," Iadarola said.
City Manager Gerald Forde said the project will provide Huron with $40,000 to $50,000 per year in new revenue. "Other projects we are negotiating will provide power to the city's water and sewer facilities thereby reducing our energy costs significantly, which will help keep customer costs down," he said.

SolarGen has another solar project in Firebaugh, which is expected to break ground this summer. In all, the company has 15 projects planned for the San Joaquin Valley.