An unidentified vandal attacked the still-embattled, under-construction 230-megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One (AVSR1) photovoltaic solar power plant during the night of July 9-10. Damage was estimated at $100,000, according to First Solar’s AVSR1 Project Manager Tony Perrino. First Solar has informed GTM it will be posting a $25,000 reward, payable to the first person to provide material information that leads directly to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the vandalism.
A transmission line and a water pipe, both approximately 2.5 miles from the solar project site, were cut by a Sawzall. A report was filed with the local Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The vandalism was publicly announced July 17 at the monthly meeting between First Solar and the local communities facilitated by LA County Deputy Supervisor Norm Hickling. It’s a new disruption to the uneasy peace that has followed the settlement of differences between First Solar and Los Angeles County that had previously stopped construction for two months.
The facility has had 24-hour security since the controversial project was robbed over the last New Year’s Eve holiday weekend, Perrino said. The company will now add a roving guard for the nights.
“When you have dissatisfied people in the community, this sort of thing happens,” a local town council officer said at the meeting.
“At least one dissatisfied person,” several First Solar officials snapped back.