Napa Citizen Groups Fighting to Keep Large Scale Commercial Solar Projects Out of Ag Lands

Grass-roots group Napa Valley Citizens for Smart Planning in conjunction with Napa Vision 2050, have serious concerns regarding the locations of large scale commercial renewable energy projects there. Last December, Napa County’s Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved one such solar project in the AG Watershed of American Canyon despite objections from many concerned residents. Since then, Citizens for Smart Planning has been working with county staff and the BOS to introduce a well-crafted, guiding ordinance that will prevent the compromise of the protected AG Watershed and AG Preserve with commercial solar projects.

The new ordinance declares that commercial and industrial zones would be acceptable for siting such projects. Napa County follows a “permissive zoning” policy, which means that areas not specifically called out in the ordinance as being zoned acceptable, will be off limits. In other words, the AG Watershed, residential zoned areas, and the AG Preserve will be off limits for commercial renewable energy projects. This will ensure that a project such as the one that was proposed (now withdrawn) for Palm Drive in Napa (17 acres of solar with 3+ acres of mature oaks to be removed) in the middle of a residential community, will not happen. Developers of such projects must be denied access to our valuable AG land so that it is not compromised and our remaining trees are allowed to sequester the carbon that is so crucial to the fight against climate change.

The private, for profit, developer of the American Canyon Commercial Solar project, Renewable Properties, is going back on its promise not to use the American Canyon project, which is located in the AG Watershed, as a precedent.  He has submitted an objection to the draft ordinance claiming precedent and seeking to locate such projects in the AG Watershed and AG Preserve. We cannot let this happen. 

To see the entire article, including Board of Supervisors meeting dates, see: