Gavilan College board supports Panoche solar project

Row crops are irrigated in the Panoche Valley in 2009.

A representative of the revised Panoche Valley Solar Project asked Gavilan College trustees Tuesday to consider a letter of support for it. The board voted in support of the project with Board President Walt Glines casting the lone dissenting vote.
The reduced project is set to place a 247-megawatt facility on about 2,500 acres. The project will provide more than 24,000 acres of mitigation land for several protected species including the San Joaquin Kit Fox, the Giant Kangaroo Rat and the Blunt Nosed Leopard Lizard, according to a letter of support included in the meeting agenda packet.
“I think we’re putting the cart in front of the horse. Many fear this will have an tremendously bad effect on wildlife and plant life,” Glines said. “Yes, the project has been reduced but I think we as an educational institution need to hear from the opposition before we go ahead with this.”
Project leaders promise to prefer local residents when hiring, but only if they are qualified for the job.
Trustee Jonathan Brusco suggested the college consider creating a pathway program so local students would be ready to fill some of the almost 500 jobs that would be created with the project. Pathway programs would need a steady demand to be sustainable.
“For all of these we’re going to be looking for that consistent pipeline of students coming through year after year,” said Superintendent Steve Kinsella.

Leave your comments