Solar skirmish

Conservationists share concerns about planned solar array

In an interesting turn of events, environmentalists are calling into question a plan to build the world’s largest solar farm.

The controversy surrounds Solargen Energy’s plan to erect 1.2 million solar panels in Panoche Valley, about 40 miles southeast of Gilroy, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Those in charge of the $1.8 billion plan say the area is the perfect place for the project. Local landowners are willing to sell 18,000 acres to the company; transmission lines already are on the site; the region is remote; and it gets 90 percent as much sun as the Mojave Desert.

Conservationists worry that the giant array will damage not only the landscape, but also the native wildlife. They note that the region is home to several endangered species, including the blunt-nosed lizard (pictured) and the giant kangaroo rat.