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California Forever promises to combine solar energy production with agriculture in Solano County

Group behind new city in Solano County promises to build large solar farm
Group behind new city in Solano County promises to build large solar farm 01:52

SOLANO COUNTY - The people behind the effort to build a new city in Solano County are also promising to build the biggest solar farm in the western United States. And this one would share space with livestock. 

The idea is for sheepherding and solar panels to share space in parts of Solano County. 

The agri-solar farm would be big enough to power 1.5 million households. 

Bronson Johnson is a sustainability engineer who works for California Forever, the company seeking to change zoning laws to build a new city and homes here.

"I'm 46," Johnson said. "I'm a renter. Father of three."

Johnson knows California's housing problem first-hand. He says prices have kept his family out of home ownership. 

"Yeah, still on the outside looking in," Johnson said. 

California Forever released a statement about the agri-solar initiative, where they've provided a $50,000 gift to UC Davis to support ongoing research into solar projects. 

"We are excited about the opportunity to use agrivoltaics to combine solar energy production with agriculture and habitat restoration on the same parcels of land in a way that is both economically and environmentally sustainable, while preserving the character of the area," Bronson said.

California Forever

The solar panels would sit above the sheep grazing on it. 

"So the vision is how do we maintain the bucolic feel," Johnson said.

Why is California Forever controversial?

Townhalls meant to create support for the California Forever plan have also revealed outrage. 

People have voiced concerns the plan will create too much traffic and alter their way of life. 

California Forever has been gathering signatures to get a zoning change on the November ballot.

They'll need to submit 13,000 verified signatures by early May.

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