San Diego County policies leave neighbors of giant solar farm wanting more protection

Geri Baker looks out onto a field next to her home which has been approved as the location of a solar project in Jacumba Hot Springs, Oct. 21, 2021. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Diana Sherwood lives at the edge of Jacumba Hot Springs in a motor home with a view of a grassy valley, mountains and the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Soon that view will change.

By early 2023, that fallow field is slated to house 604 acres of solar panels — more than an acre of solar panels for each of the town’s 540 residents, none of whom will receive a direct connection to the project’s energy output.

The project’s design, dwarfing the town on two sides, makes it distinct compared to similar projects in the area. It has led to fierce opposition from some residents and brought into sharp relief that San Diego County, unlike some other counties in California, lacks a policy to protect the interests of rural residents near large-scale solar and wind farms developed to meet statewide green energy mandates.

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