NEWBERRY SPRINGS Another company plans to take advantage of the desert sun by building a solar farm here.

Solutions for Utilities, a Vista-based company in San Diego County, plans to build a solar farm with about 12,000 photovoltaic panels on about 22 acres of land at 32952 Mountain View Road in Newberry Springs, said the company's president Mary Hoffman. The company is still applying for a conditional use permit from San Bernardino County for its solar farm, but Hoffman said there will be jobs available during the farm's construction and once it's operational. According to her, once it's built, the farm will be able to put three megawatts of electricity enough to power an estimated 2,250 homes back into the power grid.

Hoffman, who presented her company's plans for the solar farm at the Aug. 25 meeting of the Newberry Community Services District, said there will be jobs for general laborers, electricians, backhoe operators, security personnel and possibly office assistants during the farm's construction. When construction is complete there will be security and maintenance jobs, she said.

The photovoltaic panels will be six-feet tall and will move from east to west daily, she said. Retention ponds on the property will be used to collect rain water, she said.

"We're not like the troughs or the mirrors and we don't create steam," she said. "We don't have settling ponds for waste products. We don't create dust or wind. We don't raise the temperature of the community or create glare for airplanes."

The Aug. 25 meeting was the first time anyone heard about Solutions for Utilities' solar farm, said CSD board President Sandy Brittian. According to Brittian, the letter sent out by the San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department notifying the community of the solar farm didn't give enough information, even though it included a drawing of the photovoltaic panel.

"We didn't really know what it was going to look like," Brittian said. "What they presented at the meeting was really a very nice showing of what (the farm is) going to look like."

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