One of the smallest cities in San Diego County is waging a major battle against a proposed solar farm that would overshadow its community.
The San Diego County Board of Directors recently approved the JVR Energy Park, which is being built adjacent to Jacumba Hot Springs in the far southeast of San Diego County
“It’s shocking and angry that a company can do this,” said Jeff Osborne. “The solar project is roughly the size of San Diego International Airport.”
Osborne and its partners recently acquired the Jacumba Hot Springs Spa and approximately 80% of the city’s remaining commercial property. He said the solar project could ruin the character of the city and destroy any chance of rejuvenating the community.
“What we should be doing as a civilization is the solar panels on the roofs of buildings and parking lots,” said Osborne. âAnd they will go down [the solar farm] here first in a really wild place where real wild animals survive. “
Osborne said the solar farm and its 10 to 12 foot solar panels will cover much of the wild land east of the city, north of the boundary wall and south of Interstate 8. So he and a group called “Save Jacumba” filed a lawsuit to stop the project. The developer BayWa re did not want to comment directly on the lawsuit, but sent NBC 7 a statement.
“JVR Energy Park is a 90 MW solar generation and 90 MW battery energy storage project that will produce clean, reliable renewable electricity for use by over 52,000 customers,” the statement said.
“BayWa re has taken significant steps to increase the buffer between the residents and the solar panels and to protect them from view through attractive fences and landscaping,” the statement continues. “As we finalize the final construction, we will continue to find ways to further minimize the project’s footprint and work with residents on community improvements that show our commitment to being a good neighbor of Jacumba.”
Osborne said he was disappointed that the San Diego County’s board of directors unanimously approved the project.
County Supervisor Joel Anderson is representing Jacumba Hot Springs.
“My office has been proactively engaging with Jacumba residents and holding a town hall meeting to get their opinion on the proposed solar project,” Supervisor Anderson said in a statement. âOf the 100+ participants, almost all of them wanted the project either killed or made unprofitable by reducing the size by 50%. The project would succeed with or without my vote. That’s why I’ve worked hard to provide $ 4 million in community benefits for the 284 homes in Jacumba Township. “
âThey pelted us with some money in the hope that it would buy us out,â Osborne scoffed.
He said the $ 4 million for the city dwellers was about $ 8,000 per person. He argued that this was not enough to ruin the wildlands adjacent to Jacumba Hot Springs.