A solar power project that could mean close to $330,000 in rebates to the Ramona Municipal Water District encountered a roadblock Tuesday when the water board voted against making a $3,000 deposit connected to the plan.
The board, who was missing member Kit Kesinger, voted 4-0 against the deposit to San Diego County, which would help advance the solar project at the San Vicente Water Reclamation Plant.
The deposit is required to give an estimate on the amount of bond needed for the San Vicente solar project.
A similar project has already been approved for the Santa Maria Wastewater Reclamation Plant, but the San Vicente project has faced numerous setbacks, including a lien over the land.
The county now has liens on the land where the San Vicente Wastewater Reclamation Plant sits and is asking the water district to pay $3,000 in order to estimate and determine the amount of bond needed to release the liens.
If the liens identified on the San Vicente site couldn’t be removed, the solar project couldn’t move forward.
The county said that the liens won’t be removed from the site until they are replaced by an alternative.
At Tuesday’s meeting, water board member Joe Zenovic said he didn’t think spending money on this project was worth the potential benefits.
“I don’t want to spend $3,000 on a study and then $8,000 each year on bond,” he said.
Board member Red Hager is also wary of spending the cash.
“I think $3,000 will become $5,000 real quick,” he said.
Board President Bryan Wadlington said that the project has been such a headache, it may be time to nix it.
“I’m not comfortable with this at all,” Wadlington said. “This is one of those projects that never has good news.”
If the San Vicente solar project doesn’t proceed, the $10,000 reservation fee will be forefeited and the water district will lose the rebate benefits of the San Vicente project and any other costs that may accrue.
The value of the rebate benefits to the district from the project have been estimated at $328,445 over 20 years.