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The property owners, Steve Ward and David Lantis, obtained a use permit for this solar project that was approved in 2011, before current plans for the regional River Parkway were fully developed. Twenty-one acres out of the proposed 50 acre county regional park have now been converted to solar power generation under the name "San Benito Smart Park". The solar farm sits where 2 1/2 sports fields had been envisioned by the Parks Commission.

"This power will go back into the Hollister grid," said San Benito County Planner Michael Krausie. "Right now, this is the largest solar farm in the county. We just received another application for another small scale solar operation. Typically, what we've learned speaking with the California Energy Commission, the trending is for smaller size projects. This is a first time operation like this in our county, we are monitoring it carefully. They have followed all the requirements."

Krausie said Ward and Lantis are working with Enerparc, Inc. to design and build the project and will receive revenue generated from it from PG&E through a power purchase agreement, known as a PPA. According to its website, Enerparc is "a global expert in developing, engineering, building, and operating large-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems. Our company has connected over 900 megawatts of systems to electricity grids, a knowledge base we draw upon to combine speed, flexibility, and high quality in delivering projects.

We work directly with owners who want to build and own solar systems that generate reliable and economical solar power. In addition, we collaborate with other entities who value us as a trusted partner to help realize their projects, providing them our consulting, construction, and operation and maintenance services. We have thirty-five systems in our own portfolio, with an installed capacity that is over 500 megawatts and growing."

Stay tuned!  We will continue to look into this.