SunPower planning refuge for kangaroo rat in San Luis Obispo

The solar company SunPower is planning to establish an endangered species conservation area at its proposed 250-megawatt photovoltaic plant in California Valley.

Under the plan, the company would establish a conservation easement on more than 1,000 acres as well as an endowment that would fund preservation activities to protect the giant kangaroo rat and other rare species found in the area, said Brian Boroski, a wildlife ecologist hired by SunPower to set up the conservation area.

“The easement will be in place and the endowment funded before construction,” Boroski said.

The company is in the process of getting permits to install nearly 2,000 acres of photovoltaic panels and other facilities at the eastern end of California Valley. The layout of the California Valley Solar Ranch had to be significantly altered when it was discovered that endangered giant kangaroo rats are found on much of the land originally earmarked for solar panel installation.

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