The California Court of Appeal for the Sixth District issued its decision in Save Panoche Valley v. San Benito County, finding that the public interest in developing the Panoche Valley Solar Farm (Project) outweighs the public interest in maintaining the agricultural use of the land on which the Project will be built.  The decision is the first published case in California to confirm that a Williamson Act contract can be cancelled to accommodate a solar generating plant, and addresses issues that arise from California’s competing policies to promote renewable energy development and to protect agricultural land.

The court also concluded that the environmental impact report prepared for the Project was adequate, in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).Continue Reading Appeals Court Finds in Favor of Solar Project Over Agricultural Use

The Fresno County Superior Court has denied the California Farm Bureau Federation’s challenge to Fresno County’s cancellation of a Williamson Act contract to accommodate a solar generating project.  The decision is the first to take on the interplay between the Williamson Act’s goals to protect agricultural land and the State’s directive to increase reliance on

California has two more laws in place to help facilitate development of renewable energy projects after Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 267 and Senate Bill 618 over the weekend. 

SB 267 modifies the existing requirements to prepare a water supply assessment for projects that meet certain size thresholds.  Under the new law, a photovoltaic or