SANTA CRUZ >> It’s a big building, and it’s surrounded by tall trees, a towering metal fence and a metal gate.
The construction site for a home solar panel manufacturing plant near Santa Cruz is seen on Jan. 2, 2017 in Santa Cruz, California.
The site was selected after a public vote that garnered more than 1.5 million votes.
(Photo: Kevin Winter, Getty Images)The plant is located on land that was donated to the city in 2011 for the purpose of building solar energy systems.
The company has received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to begin producing panels at the site, according to the company’s website.
The company plans to produce up to 1,000 panels a year and has plans to expand the manufacturing facility.
The site is near a community that has been experiencing drought and growing health issues, according the company.
The facility will also be used to generate power from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, according company officials.
The project has been controversial.
The Santa Cruz city council voted 4-2 last year to approve the solar panel project.
In addition to opposing the project, some residents and environmental groups have expressed concerns that the project could pollute the Santa Cruz River.
Last year, a federal judge struck down a plan to build the solar plant on the site.
Santa Cruz officials appealed that decision and the state’s top court also upheld the lower court ruling, saying the city was allowed to build on private land without prior approval from local officials.