Gila Bend sits at the crossroads of Southwest Arizona on Interstate 8 at the intersection of State Route 85. Travelers coming from or going to San
Diego or on their way to a weekend get-away in Puerto Penasco (aka Rocky Point), Mexico, all recognize Gila Bend’s welcome sign, remark on the unique Space Age Lodge architecture and wonder what in the world Desert Sweet Shrimp could possibly be.
That Gila Bend is home to two of APS's five projected Arizona Sun Solar Projects is in large part due to the Town's innovation in creating a Solar
Field Overlay Zone (SFOZ). The purpose of the SFOZ is to provide flexibility in promoting under-utilized land, furthering economic development and
employment opportunities and it may only be used for the creation of solar fields and the production of renewable energy.
APS credited the creation of the program and fast-track permitting to Town Manager Rick Buss and Planning & Economic Development Director Eric Fitzer.
As the APS Community Liaison for Gila Bend, Judee Jackson, explained, "The goals of APS are to build quickly and make a change and Gila Bend's officials understood that immediately. Other towns in Arizona are still scrambling to get to the gate." The recently completed Cotton Center Solar Plant is located a mile from the Paloma Solar Plant; both are photovoltaic (non-energy storing) solar plants.
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