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Marfa solar fight gets deferred

They will not be building that big solar farm out in Marfa at this time.

Citing a lack of investors, Houston-based Tessera Solar has scotched plans to erect at least 1,000 three-story mirrored satellite dishes — designed to convert the blisteringly bright desert sun into electricity — until further notice. The solar project had created a chasm in the community, dividing those who embraced the potential for new jobs and tax revenue and those who worried the silvery sun catchers would blight the barren desert landscape.

The construction was part of Tessera’s contract, now defunct, to provide solar power to CPS Energy, which supplies gas and electricity for San Antonio. “There’s no expected construction or completion date until these financial markets strengthen,” says Janette Coates, a Tessera spokeswoman. But she adds the company hasn’t given up on the project altogether. “We still plan on developing it and pursuing it,” she says.

And opponents of the project still plan on opposing it. “We’re not going to rest on our laurels,” says Melinda Beeman, an artist whose home is about a half-mile from the proposed site. Beeman, who moved to this desert spot for its tranquil beauty more than a decade ago, led the locals’ revolt against Tessera.

As I said before, I don’t know enough about this specific project to know who I’d want to root for. In general, I hope to see more of these solar farms get built, but I also want to see a better system for figuring out where they really belong, and for enabling those who would be directly affected by them to have a voice in the process.

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One Comment

  1. John says:

    Kuff this is NIMBYism at its finest. to make a solar farm economically feasible you need xx number of days of sunlight (not sure if it is 250 or 300 etc) and Marfa meets that criteria. Yet all of the people in Marfa claim how liberal and caring for the environment they are, but when it might damage their precious views they suddenly cry foul. It is pretty simple, to have green projects (solar, wind etc) it is going to impede or hinder ones view.

    Way to go Marfa to turn down huge property taxes etc for your community (which badly needs it) because a few folks (who probably don’t live there full time) don’t like the view.