Despite claiming no such plans existed, the City of Industry has been working quietly and out of public view on a multimillion dollar proposal to build a massive solar farm amid more than 2,000 acres of undeveloped rolling hills along the shared borders of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties.
Over the past year, the politically tight-knit manufacturing city of about 200 residents spent more than $1 million on leases, reimbursements and studies aimed at building an estimated 444-megawatt solar power facility, according to documents obtained by the Southern California News Group.
The previously unreported scope of the potential project — along with the planning activity and taxpayer spending that has taken place — caught elected officials, nearby homeowners and conservationists who have long monitored proposals for the open space off guard.
As outlined in city documents, the solar farm would be among the biggest in Southern California, an unusually large-scale green energy project in the heart of a developed urban region. The facility could generate enough power to serve nearly a dozen UCLA campuses, or 10 percent of the power consumed by Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest city, experts said.
The news of the city’s plans have intensified criticism of the manner in which Industry has controlled information about possible future uses of such a large and unique piece of publicly owned land.
“If I was attempting to do what they are doing, I’d be run…
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