Solar panels will soon pop up along Hwy. 1 near Cal Poly


Work started late last month on Cal Poly’s planned 4.5-megawatt solar farm on grazing land adjacent to Highway 1 on the western edge of campus. The project is expected to be completed in late December.

The university is installing panels on a slope of grassland between California Men’s Colony and the San Luis Obispo Water Treatment Plant off Stenner Creek Road.

When complete, the plant is expected to generate more than 11 million kilowatt-hours per year, which is about a quarter of Cal Poly’s energy needs, according to a school news release.

The solar farm will utilize tracking technology to follow the sun across the sky, producing approximately 30 percent more energy than a stationary system, the release says.

In addition, Cal Poly’s Animal Science program will use the site to research vegetation management practices for utility scale solar farms while grazing the site with its sheep herd.

A look at First Solar's California Flats Solar Project near Shandon. Rick Backus, construction manager, shares some stats for the power station, which sits on 29 acres of Hearst Corp. property. The solar project is estimated to be completed in lat

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7929, @andrewsheeler