Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control District (EKAPCD) has determined that commercial solar power plants within the district are sources of fugitive dust emissions (PM10). According to EKAPCD, PM10 emissions can be caused by land clearing, scraping, grading, and on-site travel at solar plants, and emissions are made worse by frequent high-wind events in Eastern Kern County. As such, EKAPCD is requiring all commercial solar facilities encompassing ten (10) or more acres to apply for and obtain a district-issued Authority to Construct (ATC) and Permit to Operate (PTO), and submit a Fugitive Dust Emission Control Plan. The Fugitive Dust Emission Control Plan must include Reasonably Available Control Measures (RACM) to reduce fugitive dust. Examples of RACM are control of vehicular speed, application of dust suppressants, and use of water trucks to keep soil damp.
Additionally, all commercial solar facilities must submit an air monitoring plan to EKAPCD. The district recommends the use of PM10 air monitors, although alternative monitoring methods may be proposed. One benefit of installing PM10 air monitors is that owners/operators may petition to cancel their PTO by presenting five (5) years of "clean data" showing an upwind/downwind concentration difference of 50-µg/m3 or less, based on one-hour averages. More information can be found here.