FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A year from now, 85 acres in West Fresno along Cornelia Ave. will be home to 30,000 solar panels, the largest 10-megawatt solar farm in Fresno to date.
"It's a perfect example of how the green economy can thrive in the City of Fresno and the Central Valley," said Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias.
Arias says the options for farming on this city-owned land have been limited to mostly alfalfa or cotton. No direct consumer products can be grown on the hundreds of acres in close proximity to the Fresno Clovis Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Now, with a $20 million investment made by Fresno Community Solar Developers, the property will have a new purpose.
"Historically, the City of Fresno would lease this land for agricultural purposes at a rate of $250 per month," said Arias. "This solar company will now pay us $1,000 per month for the next 40 years."
The project translates to big value for some Fresno electric customers, specifically people who qualify for PG&E's CARE program.
"Over $1 million to people who live in these disadvantaged neighborhoods," said Mayor Jerry Dyer.
Low income is among one of the qualifications to enroll in CARE. In a 1 to 2 person home, that means a household income of $34,480 or less. In a household of 4 people, it's 52,400 dollars or less.
"Anybody who is enrolled in the CARE program through PG&E is going to benefit with the additional 20 percent reduction in their electric bill," said Arias.
The project will also create about 50 jobs. Dyer says those workers will be hired locally and will receive solar installation training.
"In our region, it's one of the fastest-growing job development processes that we can have in our community," said Dyer.
It's a project local leaders say creates a bright future in more ways than one.
The city's first solar farm is coming to West Fresno