Renewable energy such as solar is generally known as environmentally friendly because of the amount of carbon dioxide emission it eliminates.
But when it comes to the extent of land required for these projects and the natural habitats the construction destroys, the plants can be nearly as disruptive to the environment as any other power plant.
Which is why new solar projects frequently have environmental groups up in arms.
Solar projects are most useful when set in desert locations where there is abundant flat land and reliable sunshine.
And yet it is locations such as these that harm endangered animals most and disrupt their habitats.
So on Tuesday, solar companies SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWRA) and First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), both developing solar projects in the Carrizo Plain in California’s San Luis Obispo County, completed negotiations and reached agreements with several prominent environmental groups, reported Reuters.
SunPower is in the process of completing its 250-megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch plant, while First Solar is working on its 550-megawatt Topaz solar farm.
The two projects will take up approximately 5,550 acres, according to Recharge News.
They had originally set aside an additional 17,000 acres in the surrounding area to be used for environmental conservation as permanently protected areas.
In accordance with the agreement, however, the companies will add an additional 9,000 acres to this, said Gigaom.
They will also get rid of approximately 30 miles of fencing around the projects in order to facilitate wildlife movement and minimize the destruction of natural habitats.
They will refrain from using poisons to kill and remove rodents from the area.
And the two companies will also contribute finances to restoring areas around their projects.
These terms were agreed upon in conjunction with the Sierra Club, the Defenders of Wildlife, and the Center for Biological Diversity.
Carrizo Plain is home to the endangered San Joaquin kit fox and the giant Kangaroo rat.
By entering into these agreements, First Solar and SunPower have gone further than what is required to receive permits from the local and federal governments in order to prevent future disagreements with and lawsuits from environmental groups.
The two companies could be setting a standard for future solar companies and solar projects.
Both renewable energy companies and environmental groups are active in looking out for the environment, and the harmony of their areas of expertise will aid the nation in environmental awareness.
That’s all for now,