Thursday, August 11, 2011

New solar going up next door to wind turbines in the Coachella Valley

Yesterday I decided to drive up to Big Morongo with Lee Murray, a friend and
fellow blogger.

On the way up Hwy 62 I noticed what appeared to be a solar farm being built
off Dillon Road, on the Desert Hot Springs side. So we drove to the side road and cruised by the area at the intersection of Worsley and Dillon Road, and found the new solar farm in development and directly adjacent to a wind farm.
The following pictures are very blurry due to the high winds in the area buffeting my digicam.
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I told you they would be blurry.
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I can’t really estimate the size of the field(and by the way it was surrounded by
a dark privacy fence) except to say that it seemed like it went down Dillon road about the distance between 4 to 5 telephone poles apart. At first when we saw it, Lee and I thought it was being built inside the wind turbine area, but it was to the left side, right next to it.
ScreenHunter_01 Aug. 11 19.09

The next step was to do a drive by video if possible, here is what we came up with. I filmed it with my digicam from the passenger seat of the morongomobile while my friend drove. This is about a 2 minute video.

Near Dillon Rd and Worsley intersection in Desert Hot Springs, California.

While looking across the valley, we saw what appeared to be more pv solar farms in the distance, and we decided to go see for ourselves after doing a
short hike up at Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve.

And a short hike it was in the 95 degree + heat. By mutual agreement after 2 miles we decided to call it a day there and head back down to look for the mysterious new pv solar farms we saw earlier in the distance. Here is the only
decent picture taken by me at the preserve.
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After getting back downhill to the 102 degree Palm Springs area in the un-air conditioned morongomobile, we drove down Indian Avenue and over toward the tram area, then headed out on Hwy 111 looking for the solar field. We got way out near Snow Creek and I decided to climb a hill by the roadside to get up
high enough to see over a berm in the area where I suspected the solar fields were located.

The shot of my wide body going up that hill wasn’t particularly flattering, as the Morongobill might possibly
be an axe handle or so wide.

Here is the video taken from that vantage point. The wind is extremely brisk
through this area, hence all the windmills, and the shakiness seen in the video.
My apologies in advance.

What I thought were pv panels across the road and beyond the bridge, first spotted from a couple of miles away.

Some further thoughts on the pv solar farm in this area of the Coachella Valley.
This area being one of the windiest places in the whole country is home to thousands of wind turbines of all types across the desert. And there is a lot of land left over. When I first spied the pv construction while driving, I thought that
it was being built inside the windmill area. Upon arrival, it became clear that the land was being used only for the solar.

This immediate area is very close to the now long gone and plucked Devil’s Garden, whose destruction from plant collectors and others, led Ms. Minerva Hoyt to start her conservation projects leading up to the founding of Joshua Tree National Monument. In addition, across the street once I spotted a burrowing owl, so there is wildlife in the area.

It has occurred to me that at some point, the wind developers holding these leases might install pv solar in the open spaces, and that is what first got my attention, when I saw this from a distance. So far it hasn’t happened as far as I know, but if it did, rather here than out in the wild Mojave.

Hope you enjoyed this little trip report.


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