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Photo by Tom Grey

Save Panoche Valley

Promoting Well-placed Solar

We support and promote well-designed, well-placed and well-managed green energy such as solar and wind. As with any technology, the environment and latest scientific data must be considered during the integration of these alternative energy sources.

We oppose the proposed landscape-scale solar array which would destroy Panoche Valley, an Important Bird Area of Global Priority (IBA).


Settlement Agreement Signed for Panoche Valley Solar Project. Agreement resolves long-running disputes, advances renewable energy goals, creates jobs, and preserves more than 26,000 acres for endangered wildlife.

July 2017. Read the press release here.

Notice of Appeal filed On November 14, 2011, the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, Save Panoche Valley, and the the Sierra Club filed a Notice of Appeal of Judge O'Farrell's Judgment Denying Petition for Peremptory Writ of Mandate in San Benito County with regard to the Panoche Valley Solar Farm Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The appeal brief is expected to be filed in early 2012.

Chapter fights to save Panoche Valley. Superior Court Judge Robert O'Farrell ruled in favor of San Benito County in a lawsuit brought by Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and others challenging the county's approval of the proposed solar farm in Panoche Valley and its Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
The Avocet, September 2011. Read more.

The Solar Conundrum. Picture important areas that birds depend on: Carrizo Plain? Kern River? Big Morongo Canyon? Mono Basin? Panoche Valley? Are solar arrays the next wave of landscape features that will dominate the California foothills for decades to come? No longer relegated to the southeastern Mojave desert, the solar future is knocking at Santa Clara County's door.
The Avocet, November 2010. Read more.

Where is Panoche Valley?

Panoche Valley is located south of the Bay Area of California, east of Pinnacles National Monument and south of San Luis Reservoir and Hollister. View the satellite map.

Why is Panoche Valley Special?

Panoche Valley is an officially designated Important Bird Area. It is one of the few areas of the western San Joaquin Valley with both good access and intact habitat. This sparsely-populated and remote region of California consists of vast, grassy ranches that extend up over chaparral and oak-covered ridges, interspersed with dry washes with intermittent water. The dry scrub springs to life in April with spectacular wildflower displays after wet winters. A mix of BLM and private lands dominate, with the exception of 828-acre Little Panoche Reservoir Wildlife Area (DFG). 1

The valley is notable for its high concentrations of wintering raptors and enormous sparrow flocks, which join a resident population of Burrowing Owls and other grassland species. Grasshopper Sparrows and Short-eared Owls are found here as well - both of which have been virtually eliminated as nesters elsewhere in the San Joaquin Valley. Winter brings Mountain Plovers to the short-grass prairie on the valley floor, one of the few areas of the state where this species still winters in semi-natural habitat. 1

How you can help!

• You can help with these or other projects that interest you by becoming a Volunteer for Conservation. We have many ways that you can help from simply speaking out as part of our Conservation Action Alert Network to joining our Environmental Action Committee (EAC).

• Make a tax-deductible donation via Paypal now to our special Save Panoche Valley Campaign.

1, National Audubon Society, Panoche Valley Site Profile, January 2011.