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Out with the planes, in with the solar panels

landing-in-los-angelesNow here’s some smart thinking: take a vast swath of land purchased for a development that never got off the ground (literally, in this case) and use it for a solar farm.

That’s the plan being mulled by officials in Los Angeles, where part of a 17,750-acre property originally intended to be developed into an intercontinental airport could be developed as a solar-power facility.

The Los Angeles Times reports today that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is thinking of buying about 4,000 acres of that land to create a solar farm that could generate up to 100 megawatts of electricity for the area. The proposal would mesh nicely with a clean-energy measure set to come up for a vote on March 3.

Under Measure B, a proposition on next month’s local ballots, the city would be required to generate 400 megawatts of energy from solar power by 2014.

If the measure passes, here’s another suggestion: we’re betting there are plenty of sprawling, near-empty shopping malls and auto dealerships in the area that would also make very nice — and very productive — solar energy hubs.

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