300-acre Pasco Co. solar farm moves forward, despite opposition

Pasco County Commissioners cleared the way Tuesday for a Tampa Electric Company solar generating facility to be built in the Blanton area of rural, northeast Pasco County.

Residents who opposed to the facility had hoped to block the project, but their hopes of swaying county commission were dashed.

Opponents could still file a lawsuit.

The plant will cover more than 300 acres in a scenic and hilly part of the county that residents say will suffer from the installation of thousands of solar panels.

“Solar panels don’t have a track record so we don’t know know what’s going to happen in 10 years or 20 years,” said resident Walter Klymenkon. “That land may be polluted and it just affects the whole neighborhood,” he said.

Tampa Electric officials say the solar facility will be safe, quiet, and have less impact on the area than many other potential uses.

They say the new facility, to be named Mountain View, is part of a huge push for solar energy generation.

“We’re going to be building 10 solar plants across our territory over the next 4 years,” said Tampa Electric spokesperson Cherie Jacobs. “We’re investing $850 million dollars to gather the energy of the sun and deliver that to our customers.”