Yet another renewable energy boondoggle

Guest essay by Paul Driessen


Wilkinson Solar wants to catch the solar wave, and make bundles of money sending electricity to the grid whenever it’s generated, even if it’s not needed at the time. The company’s proposed 288,120 solar panels would blanket 600 acres of now scenic farmland next to a school near the North Carolina coast. The project carries lessons for the rest of America – and all locales considering solar.

Locals are not happy. The electricity would be exported out of the area, which has been hit by Category 3 and 4 hurricanes and multiple tropical storms over the years. Another big one would likely send glass shards flying all over. Meanwhile, the Tar Heel state averages just 213 sunny days per year and 9 hours of bright sun per day; that translates into electricity just 20% of the year – unpredictably, unreliably, less affordably. Carbon dioxide reduction benefits? None. These and other issues must get a full hearing, before regulators issue any approvals.

Croplands, habitats, taxes, family budgets, safety sacrificed to enrich politically connected few? 

Wilkinson Solar has filed papers requesting permits for a 74-megawatt solar electricity facility about 35 miles east of Greenville, NC. If approved, 288,120 solar panels would blanket 600 acres (0.94 square miles) of now scenic, serene farmland next door to the Terra Ceia Christian School near Morehead City.

An artist rendering of solar panels overlaying a CJ aerial photograph of the Respess property surrounding the Terra Ceia Christian School. (CJ graphic)

The company wants to catch the solar wave, and make a lot of money under “net metering” policies that require payment for electricity added to the grid, whenever it is generated and regardless of whether the electricity is needed at the time. Electricity generated from these new panels would not be sold in the local area; it would be exported to Virginia, Raleigh-Durham and other locations.

Solar power installations doubled in 2016 over 2015, media outlets reported in February. There are now 1.3 million solar installations across the United States, with a cumulative capacity of over 40 gigawatts. That’s enough capacity to power 6,560,000 US households, they say. Of course, there are caveats.

There was intense effort to install as much new photovoltaic as possible in 2016 – driven by a fear that federal tax credits would not be renewed. Solar actually rose from 0.96% of US generation in 2015 only to 1.37% in 2016. 65% of electricity generation is still fossil fuels, 20% is nuclear, 6.5% hydroelectric, 2.0% biomass and geothermal, and 5.6% wind (which is as unreliable as solar).

The reliability factor is critical. The capacity to power 6,560,000 households does not equal actual power generation. It is what panels can generate if the sun shines at high enough intensity 24/7/365. It can be a lot of the time in areas that are bright, dry and sunny most of the year – to very little in other regions.

Those and related issues must guide decisions on whether the Wilkinson facility makes energy, engineering, economic and environmental sense for this North Carolina community, the Tar Heel State – or other locales facing similar decisions. Solar may be advantageous for politicians, corporations, renewable energy activists and their allies. But that should not override other considerations.

A 600-MW capacity coal, gas or nuclear plant operates 90-95% of the time. Its actual output will thus be 540 to 570 megawatts – from 300 acres (or less): 1.8 to 1.9 MW per acre, reliably and affordably.

Wilkinson would theoretically generate 74 MW from twice as much land. That’s 0.12 MW per acre – or 8.1 acres per MW. However, North Carolina averages only 213 sunny days per year, and perhaps 9 hours of good, electricity-generating sun per day.

Instead of 90-95% efficiency, Wilkinson would bring only 20% efficiency. The 288,120 panels would produce electricity only about 20% of the year. That is unpredictable, unreliable, less affordable energy.

The real output would be around 0.03 MW per acre or 33 acres per MW! Wilkinson’s claimed ability to generate enough electricity for 12,500 households shrinks to 2,750 homes, when the sun shines.

Wilkinson and farmers turned occasional power producers would still reap large sums of cash, via net metering and feed-in tariff policies. But crop and wildlife habitat lands would be converted to massive solar arrays, while neighbors would get a blighted landscape and no monetary or other benefits.

As Solar Mania and Solar Sprawl spread, electricity consumers would see their rates climb: from the 9 cents per kilowatt-hour average they now pay in North Carolina and Virginia, ever closer to the 16 to 18 cents per kWh that residents pay in “green energy” states like Connecticut, New York and California. Families, hospitals, schools, businesses, farms and factories would face increasingly tougher times paying their electric bills. Poor and minority families would be hit hardest.

Then there’s the survivability issue. Since 1879, North Carolina has been hit by twelve Category 3 hurricanes, one Category 4 (Hazel in 1954) and multiple tropical storms. Imagine the shards of flying glass that would be torn from solar panels and sent flying in all directions when the next ’cane inevitably hits. What that would do to people, animals and property is not pretty to contemplate. Torrential rains brought by these storms would send flood waters roaring through the installation, wreaking further havoc.

Solar proponents always tout energy, employment and climate stabilization benefits – which don’t exist.

Every megawatt of solar power must be backed up by coal or natural gas generators. Otherwise we have electricity when it happens to be available, instead of when we need it. Otherwise our offices, hospitals, assembly lines, televisions and internet go on and off constantly. No one can work or live that way.

The backup power plants must be running on standby (spinning reserve) all the time – then must ramp up to full power every time the sun stops shining. That slashes their efficiency, and sends their fuel costs and emissions skyrocketing. Any supposed energy, sustainability and climate benefits disappear.

Moreover, it is highly unlikely that any solar array can ever generate enough electricity over its entire life span to equal the energy that went into making, installing and servicing the panels. Mining the raw materials, turning them into metals and other panel components, hauling and installing the panels – all require enormous amounts of motor fuels, coking coal and electricity. The balance sheet is in the red.

Add in what it takes to build, fuel and operate the backup power plants, and solar is bankrupt.

Solar power does create jobs. In fact, U.S. Department of Energy data reveal that producing the same amount of electricity requires one coal worker or two natural gas workers – but 12 wind industry employees or 79 solar workers. That is hardly the ticket to a productive economy.

Even worse, Spanish and other studies have found that, for every renewable energy job created, two to four jobs are lost in other sectors that are forced to pay more and more for less reliable electricity.

Price and reliability are crucial in our digital age, with electricity the key to modern living standards, health, safety, and almost everything we make, eat and do. Solar electricity makes prices rise and reliability decline; its repeated electrical surges and slumps damage grid stability.

Some say using fossil fuels – which provide 82% of the energy that makes modern civilization possible – causes dangerous manmade climate change. But Hurricane Harvey just ended the nearly 12-year record absence of a Category 3-5 hurricane striking the United States. Average planetary temperatures are back to the same level we’ve seen for almost 20 years, following the end of the 2015-16 El Niño.

Those and other inconvenient realities completely contradict decades of alarmist climate predictions. And as just noted, overall fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions increase as solar power proliferates.

All this underscores why we must build more pipelines from areas that have become major natural gas production regions, thanks to hydraulic fracturing. Whether a gas-fired power plant serves as a primary electricity generator, or as backup for wind and solar, new pipelines are essential. They determine whether families, hospitals and businesses have affordable electricity when they need it.

Unfortunately, an array of governors, mayors, legislators, regulators and activist pressure groups are blocking pipeline projects from the Dakotas to New York and beyond, even as they promote more wind and solar. Pipelines and electricity are the backbone of our economy, civilization, jobs and living standards. Cut or paralyze that backbone, and our society will cease to function.

Hearing officials must give local residents and energy experts opportunities to explain these issues and voice their concerns about energy, land use, job, economic, environmental, hurricane and other impacts from solar installations like Wilkinson. Anything less is a dereliction of duty that benefits a few players – at the expense of everyone else. That must no longer happen.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death and other books on the environment.

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September 1, 2017 2:40 am

“20% of the year” is good. In the UK it the capacity factor is more like 10%, and even less in Scotland. But the subsidies have made such low output very profitable for the ruinable energy troughers.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
September 1, 2017 2:46 am

Yes. at any given latitude you can work out the ‘no cloud’ capacity factor…of a fixed solar panel.
N Europe is around 10%. With cloud.

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 2:54 am

PV solar is a joke in the UK. It was only promoted by the govt because a fixed term contract provides a guaranteed revenue , which allows a bank to loan money. The banks is the allowed create this “wealth ” from nowhere and increase it’s “assets”.
This was all about saving the banks, not saving the planet.

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 2:55 am

Solar PV in the UK is a joke. It was a govt program to create credit loans to save the banks, nothing to do with climate.

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 3:00 am

A fixed income contract provides guaranteed income. That can be used by a bank to justify giving a loan. The bank then creates this “wealth” out of thin air and thus increases it’s assets.
That is why UK solar is not metered, you get a fixed rate based on installed area. Consumer pays much inflated prices for theoretical production.
This is just another scheme for robbing the consumer to fund the losses of the out of control banking sector.

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 3:02 am

MODS: two posts have got binned here. No obvious no-nos or filtered words, what is going on?
[Found them and restored them. It’s been happening quite a bit lately. Usually it’s because the IP address has been flagged by one of WP’s blacklist filters. Since there are a number of filters, operating at different levels, it doesn’t imply that your IP address, specifically, was flagged. Most likely it was at the domain level. At least, that’s my theory. I try to scroll through the Trash folder several times a day to rescue lost comments. We don’t catch them all, but in any given day I probably rescue a few dozen comments. -mod]

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 3:47 am

‘It was a govt program to create credit loans to save the banks’
That’s interesting, could you go into more detail about this?

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 6:31 am

In Greg’s world, the banks run everything and every program is designed to benefit them solely. Banks are a lot like CO2.

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 6:58 am

That’s interesting, could you go into more detail about this?

I did try to explain in more detail TWICE but something in WUWT is binning my comments. Not just held for moderation but disappeared totally.
A contract which guarantees a fixed revenue from solar PV for a fixed period can be used by a bank to justify lending money. Thus someone who chooses to install x sqr metres of PV on their roof can get a loan.
When a bank issues a loan, they create this “wealth” out of thin air and lend it to the homeowner. This is one of the primary functions of banks in the economy and is known as “creation of wealth”.
This makes the bank instantly richer. The ‘invent’ some money and then lend it to you. This is only limited by the amount of loans they can sell. Financial regs ( usually ) require that they have a provable source of income , the PV contract provides this.
This process is well covered elsewhere I will not waste space here re-explaining how that works. If you are not aware I suggest you check it out.

In Greg’s world, the banks run everything and every program is designed to benefit them solely. Banks are a lot like CO2.

Get a brain. I guess you still imagine that the “Federal” Reserve is owned by the US govt, right? check it out. The Fed owns the US govt.
Go ask Bernard Bernake where the 800 billion went to , he thinks he does even have to tell the president of the USA. That should tell you something about the influence of the Federal Reserve and the banks. Ask yourself why the US govt does not print its own money instead of ALLOWING the Fed to print it and then paying them for it WITH INTEREST,. all payed by the american tax payers’ income tax.
The last pres. who decided that the US govt would print its own money was JFK. 😉

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 7:02 am

MODS: thanks for digging those two out of the black hole. Now why are they in moderation at all ? I don’t see any trigger words there.
[It’s an IP address issue. See my explanation in your earlier comment. -mod]

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 7:04 am

I tried to reply to JJB and that comment also disappeared into the black hole. This is crazy. Banss, wealth ? What is the problem here. ?

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 7:31 am

Greg, UK solar is no joke – as I write at 15:30 it is providing 15% of UK demand. coal only 4.59%

Janice Moore
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 12:09 pm

So, Griff. The other ~ 80% is supplied by…. ? (eye roll)

Bryan A
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 1, 2017 8:59 pm

What I take from this is

The 288,120 panels (on 600 acres) would produce electricity only about 20% of the year. That is unpredictable, unreliable, less affordable energy.
The real output would be around 0.03 MW per acre or 33 acres per MW! Wilkinson’s claimed ability to generate enough electricity for 12,500 households shrinks to 2,750 homes, when the sun shines.

Using 600 acres to supply power to 2750 homes would require using far more space than the subdivision of 2750 homes. At 1/4 acre per home you can fit 2400 homes on 600 acres, but many new subdivisions are designed around Townhouses, condominiums, cluster housing, or other high density allowing for 8 -.10 dwellings per acre. This would mean that the solar power station on 600 acres would not be able to produce sufficient energy to power a subdivision of equivalent size high density housing. And certainly not more than 2 or 4 high density multi story city buildings taking far less acreage than the power generation facilities

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 2, 2017 12:29 pm

Greg, UK solar is no joke – as I write at 15:30 it is providing 15% of UK demand. coal only 4.59%

Griff, surely you must be aware that ALL household solar in the UK is a fixed forfeit rate and there is NO METERING at all. So your 15% is totally fictive. It may be what we are being billed for but it can not represent the production because that is simple not measured.
End of.

george e. smith
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 2, 2017 6:14 pm

I just received a fancy card in the mail. “Welcome to your New Electricity Provider, powered by wind, water and sun. (((If and when available !!))).
Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a “community owned agency.
I’m now receiving 100% carbon free electricity.
Nah ! they aren’t generating it; they “acquire it “.
Now isn’t that special; no need to generate electricity; just acquire it, and if I don’t like it I can go back to PG&E. Hey I get my free clean green renewable carbon free electricity from PG&E , anyway, because our community aquisitionator doesn’t have any wires going to this house anyway; they are just going to brow beat PG&E into billing me less, and saying I’m getting uncarbonicated electricity, cheaper than the carbonicated stuff that PG&E generates or “acquires ” themselves.
And you can bet that the rate increase that PG&E is pushing through the PUC, is to subsidize my cheaper silicon valley community free clean green renewable carbon free electricity.
Hey Si V C, do you mind asking me first if I want part time cheep electricity that doesn’t flow ehen the wind doesn’t blow or when it does blow but way too hard, and when the sun is shining on Downing Street instead of Down Town Sunnyvale.
So evidently I can opt out of this and have PG&E supply me with electricity all the time, instead of PG&E supplying me energy now and then.
The cheek of these blighters to opt me in without asking.
Yes for damn tooting sure I’m going to opt out and give those buggers a piece of my mind for stealing from my community folks to bribe me into supporting their scum scam.
Is this our friend Roger’s doing and his pals ??

Sandy In Limousin
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
September 1, 2017 3:10 am

Philip you’re wrong, the BBC says so

Scotland’s largest solar farm, which will provide power for more than 3,500 homes, is due to be officially opened.
The 13MW scheme, which was constructed on 70 acres of land at Errol Estate in Perthshire and includes 55,000 solar panels, went live in May.
Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish government’s minister for business, innovation and energy, will formally launch the solar farm.
Its construction began in January. It generates energy all year round.
Errol Estate was one of the first locations in Scotland to be identified as a potential solar farm site, with the land being promoted for development by Thomas Macmillan of Savills in 2011.

(my bold)
Euan Mearns did an analysis a a couple of years ago.

old white guy
Reply to  Sandy In Limousin
September 1, 2017 4:36 am

They generate electricity all year round, except when the doesn’t shine. Logic is never factored in to the equation for those who are trying fleece the public.

Reply to  Sandy In Limousin
September 1, 2017 6:25 am

The proof is in the pudding. It’s been up and running for over a year. Why is there no posting of their actual output per month? Could you please link to actual production figures? I have no interest in speculation when actual data are available.

Reply to  Sandy In Limousin
September 1, 2017 7:11 am

Similarly we have a 3MW( boiler plate ) PV installation just up the road. I had a good chat with one of the engineers on site who was kind enough to let me in and take a few photos and discuss the project. When I asked where we could find data for actual produced electricity he told me that was a “commercial secret” and it was not intended that this would be made public.
Clearly not something that they are very proud of on the PR front.

Reply to  Sandy In Limousin
September 1, 2017 7:34 am

And here’s a bigger Scottish solar farm, just announced:
And, I believe, it is subsidy free…
(Scotland has very long daylight hours in summer)
[and very short daylight hours in the winter -mod]

Reply to  Sandy In Limousin
September 1, 2017 10:26 am

But mod it is very windy up there in the winter
(and to be honest quite a lot of the summer too!)

Janice Moore
Reply to  Sandy In Limousin
September 1, 2017 12:11 pm

Yes, Griff. In Scotland, ’tis often seh weendeh theh moost shoot ’em all doon.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
September 1, 2017 4:37 am

and supplied meaningful amounts of predictable power.
17% of UK demand as I write on a reasonably bright UK day.

Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 6:30 am

C’mon, Griff, read the notes when you click on it: “Solar PV: As no solar PV to date is metered centrally, we cannot show accurate real time figures on solar PV power.
Estimated power (data provided by Sheffield University) is shown here. There is good evidence from the lack of decrease in recorded demand at midday to suppose this is somewhat overestimated, however.”
You really feast on this bs, don’t you.

Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 6:33 am

In little Griffies world, the fact that you get more solar power during the day than you do during the night, proves that solar power is perfectly predictable.
He also claims that since meteorologists are able to predict that it will be windier tomorrow than it is today, proves that wind is also 100% predictable.

Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 7:29 am

and yet the UK National Grid manages to know when and what the solar output is – the people running the grid have the figures.
I included that site just to show you how much solar power we are getting… still 15% as I write –

Janice Moore
Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 12:14 pm

And, as you were writing, Griff, doing it at a cost/Kwh FAR higher than for reliable power upon the backs of whose rate-payers (via surcharges) the solar SC@M is riding.

Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 11:24 pm

Griff. . . you also post later that these solar farms are good for farmers when installed on poor grazing land. True. They profit. Until they try to sell their land with a used solar panel farm on it. Or a used wind farm for that matter. Can’t be done for agricultural purposes. Mile after mile of Texas wind farms stretch endlessly along highways in the Panhandle of the state. Burnt, broken, and collapsed turbines are interspersed throughout. Nothing grazes placidly among them because there’s nothing to graze on. The land there is reminiscent of a no-man’s-land picture from WWI. And don’t even think about getting the corporations that installed them to remove them. You also mention flowers and stuff planted around solar farms attract bees, insects? Can you say crispy critters incinerated on the wing? Now add birds to that list. Tens of thousands of them annually. That a solar farm never has an insect problem would be an understatement. As far as wildlife goes, don’t think anyone is quite sure what lives/can live/grows beneath acres and acres of solar panels. If anything. Did I mention solar farms blind pilots that fly over or towards them? That they only supply the grid reliably 10-20% of the time in places in Europe. (see any WUWT solar farm piece). That to furnish enough solar power for the U.S. would require covering half the nation with them? And that they would not be reliable even them? This whole solar panel and wind farm thing is a hoax, Griff. A lie. Link below (and its links) is a good place to take a peek at a typical U.S. solar farm scam/debacle. And about all these useless solar and bird blender farms seem to be doing is ridding the planet of fowl flyers and devaluing the land they’re on. All brought to us by those wonderful grifters and shills who claim they’re saving earth and the very wildlife they’re destroying with OPM who, when that runs out, walk away with pockets full of tax dollars and leave an untenable mess behind.

Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 4:31 pm

Lying again, Skanky?
Why do you do it when it is so easy to show you up?
Are you a bit ‘special’ or what?
Now go and apologise to Dr Crockford you your malice.

September 1, 2017 2:51 am

Average planetary temperatures are back to the same level we’ve seen for almost 20 years, following the end of the 2015-16 El Niño.

So the instantaneous monthly figure is about the same as the long term average …. if we exclude the hot years.
Apples, oranges and selective bias. Full marks for adoption climatology methods. Hey, fight fire with fire right?

richard verney
Reply to  Greg
September 1, 2017 4:05 am

Well it is likely that the Northern Hemisphere is today no warmer than it was during the highs of the 1930s/1940.
We know from the vlimatefate emails that the tree rings showed no 1970s warming. In.fact the tree rings suggested as at around 1996 (the date to which they went up to) showed that the NH was not as warm as the 1940s and hence the need to hide the decline.
We know from Phil Jones 1980/paper and Hansen’s 1981 paper that before the Team carried out their unrelenting adjustments to the land based thermometer data, that as at 1980 the NH was about 0.3 to 0.4 feg C cooler than it was in 1940.
We know from the satellite data that there was no statistical significant warming between 1979/and the run JP to the Super El Nino of 1997/98. This of course is consistent with the Tree ring data that was excluded from the MB98 paper.
We know from the satellite data that there was a step change in temperature of about 0.3 deg C coincident with the Super El Nino of 1997/98, and since then with temperatures now dropping back from the highs of the strong El Nino of 2015/16, the NH is about the same temperature that it was back in 1940.
It is only.manmade endless adjustments that have been made to the land based thermometer record, that the warmist can paint a different picture. The only warming is in the adjustments and the veracity and efficacy of which highly dubious.
There are multiple lines of evidence that suggest that the NH is no warmer today than it was in 1940 notwithstanding that during that time some 95% of all manmade CO2 emissions have occurred.

Malcolm Carter
Reply to  Greg
September 1, 2017 1:04 pm

So how is this supposed to lower CO2. We have the guilty planting trees as indulgences for their sins of emission and now we are supposed to accept covering up arable, CO2 absorbing land for a solar folly. Oh the hypocrisy.

Reply to  Malcolm Carter
September 1, 2017 7:18 pm

The New York Times, June 21, 2012
The Opinion Pages | Global Agenda | Environment
“Going Green” by John Elkington, U.K.
Article mentions:
Club of Rome
Brundtland Commission
Rio 92 Earth Summit
Rio + 20
More at:
SustainAbility, U.K., founded 1987
John Elkington and Elkington is also at VOLENS/Volens, U.K.
UN Global Compact, Sept.19, 2016
‘UN Global Compact Launches Next Generation Business Solutions To Achieve The SDGs’
Includes the “Breakthrough” project & John Elkington, Volens
SDGs are Sustainable Development Goals
The UN Global Compact is also in Australia with the SDGs agenda.

Reply to  Malcolm Carter
September 1, 2017 7:27 pm

Global Compact Network Australia, Sept 19, 2016
‘UN Global Compact Launches Next Generation Business Solutions To Achieve The SDGs’

Reply to  Malcolm Carter
September 2, 2017 10:59 am

The Economist, Nov.17, 2009
“Triple Bottom Line”
First “coined” by John Elkington in 1994.
“It consists of three Ps: profit, people and planet”
And correction: Should be Volans/VOLANS, U.K.

Reply to  Malcolm Carter
September 2, 2017 7:27 pm

Breakthrough Capitalism
Re: John Elkington
Breakthrough Capitalism Canada
‘Discussion Highlights and Opportunities for Action’, Nov.7, 2013, Toronto, 29 pages.
Report at:
Includes photos.

Brett Keane
September 1, 2017 3:32 am

Honest error bars would show you, Greg, that the pause has not ended, since about 20yrs now. Honest data makes that even clearer and longer……..Mendacious much?

Reply to  Brett Keane
September 1, 2017 7:18 am

Error bars would show how uncertain we are whether warming has occurred or not. It make the result less certain , not ” even clearer”.
My contention was with what was written , not what happened in 1935 or error bars. Paul Driesden was making certain claims, which rely on putting your thumb over the bits which do not agree with his agenda and comparing monthly data to decadal means. I will criticise this just as strongly when it come from a climate sceptic as when it comes from a AGW alarmist.

Mike McMillan
September 1, 2017 3:37 am

… scenic, serene farmland …
I think the word were searching for here is “pristine.”

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Mike McMillan
September 1, 2017 3:38 am


Mike McMillan
Reply to  Mike McMillan
September 1, 2017 3:44 am

Not raining in Houston, but running low on Mountain Dew as the tanker truck wasn’t able to make a delivery this week.

Reply to  Mike McMillan
September 1, 2017 6:38 am

“Pristine”? I always thought that applied to places where people did not go—like true wilderness areas. As for scenic, serene farmland, that would be a personal preference call. Farmland does not appeal to me in any way. I lived in farm country for over 25 years and don’t miss it at all. Others love it. It always comes down to what a person finds appealing. I’m sure there are some that find solar panels “scenic and serene” just as some love the skyline of big cities. The conflict comes when the lovers of solar panels decide to wipe out the areas the lovers of farmland are using.

Ben Bethel
Reply to  Sheri
September 1, 2017 7:49 am

I felt like this was an article from The Onion… so inaccurate and full of jokes it cannot be taken seriously. we’ve already seen what happens during major hurricanes, sinkholes and other geologic events to pipelines, just one pipe opens and you have Flint Michigan style water disasters happening. The goal for all should not be utility scale energy, or transmission lines, but building homes with solar, power wall storage, no electricity from the street, no natural gas lines from the street or in the home (electric heat pump water heaters are now 75pct more efficient than gas) no wiring for telephone, internet, or video, and no hot water loops (just 2gpm tank less hot water heaters where you need them, at $169 ea), and no hot water to laundry as it’s not even used in commercial laundry applications anymore. net zero living, no utilities to pay for, and for your electric car (mine is the third fastest car in the world at 655/mo but no additional expenses except for tires), no fuel or oil or brakes to pay for. this translates into more money into my pocket to support local area businesses. and just watch what happens as food prices drop about 40pct and 80pct of all of today’s grocery stores are closed by 2025, when the cost per installed watt of solar is $0.50.

September 1, 2017 3:43 am

Driessen is making a couple real stretches in this piece. First is going back to Hazel (1954) to start counting hurricanes and tropical storms. Why not go all the way back to the 1600’s when hurricanes cut passages through the Outer Banks? Or use Floyd (1999) when a good part of that area was under water? A very weak argument.
The second stretch is the apparent assumption that this facility will drive local electricity rates up. The increased cost is absorbed across the utility, so everyone gets the fun of paying for it. (Senate Bill 3). The only exorbitant local rates were those communities foolish enough to buy a piece of the Harris Nuclear plant decades ago.
Is Driessen sticking to just solar or does he oppose the other renewable energy deals in NC’s portfolio such as electricity from swine waste?
Solar is an economic loser without subsidies. Driessen makes a good case against it without the hurricane and cost strawmen.

Chad Irby
Reply to  Bob Greene
September 1, 2017 4:22 am

When you’re talking about weather impacts, you have to use the assumed life span of the plant in question. Sixty years is a reasonable assumption for the lifetime of a power generation system. Actually, it’s a bit on the low side: some coal plants in the US are pushing the century mark.
Now, for solar, it’s being very generous, since the panels start dropping in efficiency pretty hard in twenty years or so, but it’s not like they’re going to abandon the system completely when the power starts dropping off, right? If you’re going to build these mile-square arrays of hardware, you’re not going to just walk away when they start to show their age.
Or are you?
A generation from now, are there going to be vast areas of aging steel and glass, slowly degrading and shedding all sorts of toxic waste across what used to be good farmland? Are these going to be the 2050 Superfund sites?

Reply to  Chad Irby
September 1, 2017 5:22 am

One note of caution Chad, in 20 years r and d will push up cell efficiency, cost benefit analysis will allow the operators to consider changing out old low output units for higher output units for the same given area, crystal balls required here to work out if the calcs will give a 2 year payback.
I still disagree with mass solar farms like this but product development has not yet stopped

Reply to  Chad Irby
September 1, 2017 6:07 am

Solar cells will not be viable until we get sunshine at night.

Reply to  Chad Irby
September 1, 2017 6:36 am

They’ve been r and d’ing solar cells for 50 years. Not a lot of efficiency gains left in that pie.

Chad Irby
Reply to  Chad Irby
September 1, 2017 6:40 am

The problem with the “efficiency is going to rise” theory is that you still have to replace the system – and dispose of the old one.
In twenty years, when you rip out all of those old cells, will the whole underlying infrastructure still be viable? Or will they have to tear it all down and put in new steel to hold the panels off the ground?
At that point, what do you think will happen? Will they do things right, tear out all of the old hardware and supports and replace it with new (at great cost) – or will they declare bankruptcy, let the lease go, and find another square mile of land to put the new hardware on? You need to remember that we’re already at the point where the dominant cost of solar panel installation isn’t the panels any more – it’s the hardware that supports them and the cabling and electronics that connect them to the grid.
Even if they do replace the whole mess, it’s still vulnerable to the long-term risk of hurricanes and bad weather that Bob Greene was complaining about in his comment.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Chad Irby
September 1, 2017 12:16 pm

@ Griff: “exceeds expectations” is so vague as to be meaningless.

September 1, 2017 3:49 am

The Golden Rule of green energy – those that want the gold, get it.

Carbon BIgfoot
September 1, 2017 4:24 am

McMillan how can you drink that swill?

September 1, 2017 4:25 am

Wilkinson’s claimed ability to generate enough electricity for 12,500 households shrinks to 2,750 homes

You are wrong; the 20% capacity factor is counted in.
A simple calculation shows this:
The average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. household is 10.8 Megawatthours (MWh),
Capacity, times number of hours per year, times 20% divided on 10.8 gives:
74 * 24 * 365 * 0.2/10.8 = 12,000 households.
Similar with the 40 gigawatt solar installations in the US.
40,000 * 24 * 365 *0.2/10.8 = 6.5 million US households powered by solar.

Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
September 1, 2017 6:09 am

But that is an average. Solar cells provide no energy in the dark.

Reply to  M Simon
September 1, 2017 7:26 am

But an enormous amount of human industrial and commercial activity takes place mostly during daylight…

Reply to  M Simon
September 1, 2017 8:26 am

Which does the market reward, daytime or nighttime? And don’t hand me the deflection argument of all solar with no possibility of other sources at night.

Janice Moore
Reply to  M Simon
September 1, 2017 12:26 pm

@ Griff <– yes, you. Boeing and Toyota and Raytheon and on and on are NOT going to build their products cost-effectively using solar power. It is just plainly too expensive per Kwh.
Further: if you do a cost-benefit analysis on solar panels, solar life is too short to EVER re-coup the cost of investment. They need replacing/costly maintenance before they generate enough “savings” to offset the investment. PERMANENT negative ROI.
They only sane AND moral use is by people who acknowledge, up front, that they are NOT using solar to save money, but to simply to be grid-independent (the lifetime cost is too high for it to be a money saver for anyone) AND who pay the entire cost of production, installation, and maintenance –> themselves
It is something only the wealthy can afford to buy. And that’s fine, more power to them, if they use their own money.

Reply to  M Simon
September 2, 2017 4:24 am

Janice, solar is now sold with a 25 to 30 year warranty and research suggests that at 25 years you will be getting 80% at least out of them…
Many industrial users have installed solar…
“It is estimated that the system will generate more than 30% of the Engine Manufacturing Centre’s energy requirements”

Bryan A
Reply to  M Simon
September 2, 2017 2:23 pm

Well at least Jaguar Engine Manufacturing’s energy supply will be 70% reliable

Ian W
September 1, 2017 4:38 am

This could all be cured by correct contracts. The renewable power suppliers should be contracted to supply power at a rate per week and a rate per day. So many MWH a week must be provided, and so may MWH a day be provided, with punitive contractual damages if that rate was not supplied. Failure to supply the contracted rate for more than 10 weeks of a year would result in the contract being voided. It would be the renewable power suppliers that would be required to pay for other energy suppliers to fill the gaps in their capability to provide power not the grid operators. The published figures for supply would therefore not be some marketeers nameplate capacity but the actual contracted power to be supplied.
Under this scheme if North Carolina really is a poor place for a solar plant then the company putting in the solar plant will be the losers – a winter with 3 months of cloudy days could lead to the contract being voided, unless the renewables company funded another power company to step in. Thus all the risk is being put where it should be in the ‘green’ renewable company side of the contract.

Samuel C Cogar
September 1, 2017 4:40 am

Excerpted from the essay:

Families, hospitals, schools, businesses, farms and factories would face increasingly tougher times paying their electric bills. Poor and minority families would be hit hardest.

There, fixed the above.
Increase electric rates …… and hospitals simply increase their “health provider rates”.
Increase electric rates …… and schools simply increase their “school tax rates”.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
September 1, 2017 6:41 am

Don’t farmers and businesses and factories do exactly the same thing—raise their selling price?

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Sheri
September 1, 2017 11:23 am

“Yup”, they sure do, Sheri.
“But”, …… farmers and businesses and factories don’t have a “captive audience” that is literally forced to pay whatever “rates” said farmers and businesses and factories decides to charge for their products or services.
Have you ever heard of a Public School that was forced to close its doors and fire all of its employees because the “real property owners” refused to pay their School Taxes?
Of course not.
If one refuses to pay their property/school taxes ….. an Officer of the Court will sell said property at public auction and use the proceeds to pay one’s un-paid taxes.

Michael smith
September 1, 2017 4:41 am

Paul clearly doesn’t know the first thing about solar energy. Or about how the grid operates. This article is nothing but pure hysterics, funded by fossil fuel industries.

Reply to  Michael smith
September 1, 2017 6:42 am

Maybe if you actually provided facts and not just dissed the article, people might care what you have to say.

Reply to  Michael smith
September 1, 2017 12:08 pm

Is there any you and I can discuss your fossil fuel funding? I would like to learn about the gravy train….
Which portion of the industry supplies you with the bulk of your funding … extraction? exploration? distribution? Or is there a controlling syndicate that manages your work?
My wife is pretty adept at utilizing pure hysterics to get what she wants … I think that an endeavor of this type would be right up her alley. How can I get her started in the fossil fuel industries anti-competition PR game. I’m sure she would be willing to start with an entry level position and, over time, prove herself as a useful propagandist to move up the ladder.
Don M.

September 1, 2017 4:41 am

The ground looks flat… with a hedgeline round it you won’t see it from the ground.
This would be entirely unremarkable in the UK or Germany. And probably subsidy free:
I hope though that the ground will be grazed, as is UK standard for large solar farms. And a battery to go with it would make it even more of an asset.

Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 6:42 am

The battery comes from the battery fairy, right?

Reply to  Sheri
September 2, 2017 12:51 am

yeah – if you leave a coal plant under your pillow, the battery fairy brings you a grid scale battery….

Bryan A
Reply to  Sheri
September 2, 2017 2:29 pm

Not sure there will be much grazing on the 80,000 unit footprint. Perhaps some grass will still grow between the panel rows but if it is designed like the picture, the grasses beneath the panel rows will be stunted for subsequent years growthcomment image

Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 6:51 am

“Entirely unremarkable in the UK” – other than being four times larger than the largest one planned in the UK.
Ditto for Germany – the Germans have one plant that will generate more power – but takes up a fraction of the area. That hints that the plant in question will be using low-tech panels, and will probably be outdated before it’s even built.
This is a huge, HUGE area they’re talking about.

Reply to  cirby
September 1, 2017 7:25 am

large solar farms are entirely unremarkable in the UK and Germany, even if not as large as this one.

Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 7:21 am

Utility scale solar is the way, not sure about battery cost at this point. I’m not even sure why you need an expensive battery in a mixed source grid. The market is rewarding daytime generation and that’s what solar arrays produce. I’ve visited a 50 mw solar array and the gate was open with one person “managing” the site. Actually this one employee was managing several different solar sites from one desk station. He mentioned that the station clicks on with the first indirect light in the morning. I’ve also seen overstaffed coal fired plants where the utility “parked” engineers in the hope they could redeploy them in another round of nuclear investment. Some issues require hands on site visits to see the difference. I’ve also seen the waste of countless government studies on Yucca Mtn. in Nevada all for the purpose of waste disposal that is still undecided.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 9:19 am

Exactly what grazing are you talking about? How does grass grow under a solar panel, especially when the panel intercepts all of the sunlight?

Reply to  Jim Gorman
September 1, 2017 10:24 am

There’s plenty of grass around and under a solar panel. Just as there is on the north side of your property or under the kids trampoline on the lawn…
See details/pics here:

Curious George
Reply to  Jim Gorman
September 1, 2017 11:38 am

All you have to do is to make your panels cow-proof .. oh, holy cow, they produce methane.

george e. smith
Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 4:54 pm

What is there to graze on sans sunshine ??
Seems like a perfect ground sterilizer to me.
Well I guess you could install lights under the roof; why not with a ready source of free green clean electricity right over your head.

September 1, 2017 4:43 am

What’s needed is a simple rule enforced by grid operators : no power generator will be allowed dumping access to the grid unless that generator is under the control of the grid operator and can also supply power on demand. Right now, unreliable power generators wind/solar receive special treatment, accepted when available, displacing power from other generators, which reduces those other generator plant’s capacity, increasing their unit costs. supposedly because of their low carbon power, a special treatment illogically not extended to even lower carbon emitters like nuclear plants

Reply to  arthur4563
September 2, 2017 3:34 am


September 1, 2017 4:54 am

“But crop and wildlife habitat lands would be converted to massive solar arrays, while neighbors would get a blighted landscape and no monetary or other benefits.”
Has anyone looked at the satellite views of this particular location. There is no wildlife habitat. The landscape it’s conveying has already blighted by farmland. Are you encouraging some form of socialism where neighborBut crop and wildlife habitat lands would be converted to massive solar arrays, while neighbors would get a blighted landscape and no monetary or other neighbors near land should to share in the monetary or other benefits of the land?

Mark M
Reply to  Brad Schrag
September 1, 2017 6:21 am

No wildlife habitat? Farmland? You must not get out of your condo much.

Reply to  Mark M
September 1, 2017 6:43 am


Reply to  Brad Schrag
September 1, 2017 7:23 am

It might actually be better wildlife habitat -for plants and insects anyway -as a solar farm.
UK solar farms are regularly seeded with wildflowers to act as bio reserves…

Janice Moore
Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 12:30 pm

Still leaving out the comparative cost analysis, Griff.
….on to the next Griff toss….. let’s see if he (yes, Griff is a “he” — he spoke of a “wife” one time a few months ago) addresses this issue below…..

Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 12:50 am

yes I’m a him.
There is a return for people putting in solar, though depending on location and local rules on feeding to the grid it may be over years.
However a big attraction for industrial users is fixing the costs of electricity…
7 UK car plants have solar panel installations.
also its good for airports:

September 1, 2017 5:03 am

Greenies display a remarkable lack of concern for the environment when it comes to Saving The Planet (TM) or increasing their bank balances. Recently a so-called “science” programme on BBC radio was in raptures about the idea of putting solar panels on lakes, none of that famous sciencey “concern” about the adverse effects on the ecology of the lake. True “Greens” should be up in arms about the industrialisation of the countryside, guess there can’t be many true greens amongst the watermelons.

September 1, 2017 5:04 am

Maybe they should compensate the school for extra airconditioning costs. There is a solar plant heat island effect similar to the urban heat island effect. link

September 1, 2017 5:05 am

wonder what the rise in heat would be from covering what looks like rather good farm soils with masses of shinycrap?
as someone here coined the term
weapons grade stupid! strikes again

Samuel C Cogar
September 1, 2017 5:11 am

Excerpted from the essay:

If approved, 288,120 solar panels would blanket 600 acres
North Carolina averages only 213 sunny days per year, and perhaps 9 hours of good, electricity-generating sun per day.

“HA”, …… “perhaps” is right, …….. but just because there might perhaps be “9 hours of good, electricity-generating sun per day” …… doesn’t prove that the aforesaid “288,120 solar panels” will be operating/functioning at peak performance (aka: max output) for 9 continuous hours on each of those 213 sunny days per year.
In fact, in a “field array” as pictured above, ……. it would be an impossibility.

John Droz, jr
September 1, 2017 5:20 am

This very good article has one error: the school being negatively impacted is near Washington, NC — which is about 75 miles away from Morehead City, NC.

Reply to  John Droz, jr
September 1, 2017 7:08 am

Correct. John Droz and I both live in Morehead City. I hope that’s the only factual error.
A single square mile taken out of farmland is a proverbial drop in the bucket. I wouldn’t worry too much about making any kind of dent in NC agricultural production. Farmland in eastern NC is among the most productive in the world and covers many thousands of square miles.
Of course the landowner benefits mightily, as does everyone except the taxpayer and ratepayer. For all this, we can be grateful for the NC legislature, who allowed themselves to be snowed by renewable energy activists. There are scores of small solar farms in NC, all benefiting from the license to steal created by brilliant politicians.
And get a load of this. Nearing completion is a wind farm not far from the solar farm covering 22,000 acres. This farm is to supply power for Amazon Web Services.

September 1, 2017 5:22 am

Hey, I think I know where that solar farm will be at. But I have to correct one thing first: North Carolina has only seen 1 category 4 hurricane in recorded history: 1954 Hazel. And even that came ashore at the South Carolina border. (In other words, if it tracked just a few miles west, North Carolina would have no direct category 4 hurricane strikes.) It gets frequent category 3 hurricanes, not category 4 hurricanes.
What always amazes me about the environs thinking is that 600 acres of solar panels is green, but planting trees on 600 acres is not. I never understood how putting mined aluminum, concrete, and hard to mine rare earth metals was “green” but letting the land lie fallow so that nature can do its thing is not. Then I remember that being green is all emotional, facts and logic are not allowed.
I talked to two farming families who were putting solar panels on his farmland. They were not doing it because they believed in the cause, they did it only because it was more profitable. Their farm was going to make more money over the life of the contract than they would have planting crops. For them, it was simple capitalism. They cared nothing about the cause. In fact, one of them knew already how bad solar power really is.

Reply to  AlexWade
September 1, 2017 7:21 am

In the UK the space around and under the panels is usually grazed…
the other main use is to let wildflowers etc grow, acting as a reserve for beneficial insects, bees etc

David Cage
Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 8:42 am

That does not stop them blighting the landscape totally. The reflections from the panels make it obvious somehow even if not visible directly.
As for beneficial wild flowers, that is what they tell the believers who swallow the bovine excrement as if it was a cream cake. The reality is they leave it to whatever weeds care to grow and the site looks disgusting and ruins any garden with the weed seeds distributed from it.
We not only suffer these thieving creeps by being forced to subsidise them we have to endure their lies about the additional suffering they cause.

Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 9:33 am

grazed? more beef? yay!

Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 10:21 am

David, if you’d read my link you’d find exactly what they sow on solar farms in the UK.
we have 2 large ones locally: I only noticed them when from the top of the highest hill locally (its in one of the Harry Potter films as the place where they leave for the Quidditch championships) I noticed what looked like a lake in the distance and with the aid of my binoculars found it was actually a solar farm.

Bob boder
Reply to  Griff
September 1, 2017 12:14 pm

How much of your personal fortune is invested in renewable energy?

Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 12:47 am

I’m not rich enough to have any investments (other than what’s in my pension fund and that’s not specifically in renewables).
when I move house, am planning a solar + battery install: angles all wrong on this one.

Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 8:00 pm

Somebody could make a lot of money breeding really short cattle. Sheep are short enough I suppose to fit under those panels

Reply to  AlexWade
September 1, 2017 8:03 am

As to the number of hurricanes in North Carolina, I count “2” hurricanes actually making landfall as category 3 since 1850, and both of those were before 1900. No category 4 or 5 hurricane has made landfall in NC in recorded history. There are approximately 11 storms of category 3 and 4 that made landfall, but they were cat 2 or lower when they actually made landfall.

September 1, 2017 5:59 am

600 fewer acres to grow trash corn to saisfy our other boondoggle, ethanol.

Reply to  Wharfplank
September 1, 2017 7:45 am

…..and no wood pellets for UK boilers after clear cutting, loading, shipping, offloading, and payoffs to well-connected insiders.

Dr. Dave
September 1, 2017 6:02 am

Nearly a square mile of black material will certainly cause local heating. I’m quite confident that if this monstrosity is built, some pinhead alarmists will attribute the increased local temperature to global warming

September 1, 2017 6:18 am

while 200 or so miles away, isn’t greenville directly under path to RDU airport?
been a while since looked at charts so may be wrong

Reply to  dmacleo
September 1, 2017 8:11 am

Well, Raleigh is about 85 miles from Greenville by surface roads. But I can’t imagine that a solar farm that far away would cause any problems for RDU traffic.

September 1, 2017 6:28 am

The overlap between the sets renewable energy and boondoggle is approaching unity.

Steve Case
September 1, 2017 6:32 am

The company wants to catch the solar wave, and make a lot of money under “net metering” policies that require payment for electricity added to the grid, whenever it is generated and regardless of whether the electricity is needed at the time.

What a sweet deal that is, you get to use the electric company’s distribution system for free in effect stealing their customer list, don’t have to pay the insurance on that grid, and when lightning strikes cause a power outage, the your newly purloined customers don’t call you, they call the electric company for service.

Reply to  Steve Case
September 1, 2017 8:12 am

Well said.

September 1, 2017 6:38 am

I love the way the artists rendering left out the inverters and HV switchgear that would still be required.

Reply to  dgp
September 1, 2017 6:40 am

How many acres for the battery pack?

September 1, 2017 7:19 am

I’m not sure about the precise location of the solar project, but there have been several recent major flooding incidents that have inundated the Greenville, NC and Washington, NC areas. Obviously, the high winds of a hurricane/residual tropical storm event would be a major concern; but the more common standing water could have interesting impacts on the solar panels and electricity grid of the facility–not to mention the connection to the main grid.
Without subsidies, these projects are economically impossible; but the Utilities Commission and Duke/Progress reap lots of green credibility and government cash.

September 1, 2017 7:24 am

With a get out of environmental disruption (e.g. blight factor) free card, low density, high margin gray (“green”) solutions offer a progressive incentive for corporations and investors.

Rod Everson
September 1, 2017 8:07 am

WUWT has introduced me to two concepts that should be tied together and explained to every politician on the planet:
1. The concept that an energy source, to be a productive source, must produce a significant multiple of the energy expended in its production. I don’t have a link to the article, but as I recall oil and gas return around seven times (7X) the energy expended. Solar, again as I recall, barely reached one time (1X).
2. The story, probably apocryphal, that, in a socialist European country, the money earned from a local mine was nearly exactly sufficient to keep all the miners fully employed at the mine, i.e., a return of 1X. (Again, I don’t have a link to what I believe was a comment to an article recently.)
Tell the story first, make sure the politician gets the point (A return of 1X is idiotic policy) and then move to discussing solar, wind, oil, gas, nuclear, hydro, etc.
And in this North Carolina project, 1X might be optimistic.

September 1, 2017 8:31 am

Solar farms are not dangerous, ground mounted systems are mounted into concrete. Panels have gone through hail storms with minimal damage if any. They can adapt to areas prone to high winds as well. The Dutch, French and Germans have coastal installations and no issues…if there is concern move it further inland or use wind turbines!
As for Net Metering, utilities return unused energy credits at 2-3 cents per kilowatt not at the rate per kilowatt charged.
Let’s face it I’d rather have debris from solar panels which wouldn’t be less likely than oil spills, natural gas explosions or coal dust pollution!
Fossil fuels are finite…wind, solar and hydroelectric power are infinite!

Reply to  ER Flynn Alba
September 1, 2017 10:21 am

rare earth metals are… rare.

Reply to  Urederra
September 1, 2017 11:24 am

Not when they are priced by the pound and major producers go out of business because of low prices. Just ask the poor suckers that held Molycorp shares when it went over the cliff.

richard verney
Reply to  ER Flynn Alba
September 2, 2017 1:49 am

Oil is a natural product and as such it is bio degradable.
I have a lot of experience with oil spill clean ups, and these are mostly a waste of time, and little more than a PR exercise. Left alone, mother nature would sort it out, but of course it might take a few years.

September 1, 2017 8:41 am

You did not address the side effects of fracking. Fracking can cause earthquakes and ground water disruptions. Solar may be best in smaller stallations on houses, barns, and offices to reduce to net zero the buildings electrical needs This would allow large generators to budget also
Weather forcasting is a must. This would cut heat blackouts from a/c use. Enough on a barn could service a group of buildings, house, henhouse, barn etc. Buildings are already there. The new black panels look attractive on roofs. We are doing the sourh side of our new garage roof.

richard verney
Reply to  Maureen
September 2, 2017 1:51 am

You did not address the side effects of fracking. Fracking can cause earthquakes and ground water disruptions.

This is just pure conjecture on which there is no hard evidence.

September 1, 2017 9:10 am

That 600 MW coal plant on 300 acres or less? It will generate exactly zero MWh without fuel. The strip mine supporting it will permanently consume 35 acres every single year – if said mine is in Wyoming. If it’s in Virginia, it will consume 1,200 acres. Annually.

Reply to  Mike
September 1, 2017 9:58 am

that’s a good point
it’s not an issue of scenic cornfields.
it’s not about what somebody does with his own property.
it’s not about co2 or what anybody wants to do with his own dime.
it also shows exactly why the only winning argument is this:
‘keep your mitts off my wallet cuz MINE!’

Andrew Cooke
September 1, 2017 9:14 am

So I have been thinking about some great ways to make money. Out of curiosity, let’s say I were to found a company to create a solar power plant. Would I get any credits to buy the land? Or build the solar array?
Are there grants? Or maybe state and local tax breaks?
Because if there are I could use this to get my hands on a lot of land, which would be the real asset, not the solar plant. At the government’s expense. Then I get to sell the sporadically produced power to the local power company and show the land as an asset on the books.
“Oh, mister Bureaucrat, I need a LOT of land to make this solar array viable.” Oh yeah baby.
“Oh, mister Bureaucrat, look at the good I am doing, don’t I deserve a grant.” Oh yeah baby.
“Oh, mister local official, if you will just approve my plans to get a lot of land for cheap, I will contribute to your re-election fund.” OH, YEAH.
And now you know why AGW is a god send for some people. Some. People.

Caligula Jones
September 1, 2017 9:17 am

And here I was told by the greenunists that we shouldn’t do anything to our farmland but grow food on it…

Andrew Cooke
Reply to  Caligula Jones
September 1, 2017 9:24 am

No actually, you aren’t supposed to do anything unless they tell you it is ok to do it. As a matter of fact, you should go ahead and turn over all the land to a committee so they can come up with a proper use for it.
From each according to their ability, from each according to their need.
And, quite frankly their ability is much greater than yours.
Just ask them.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Andrew Cooke
September 1, 2017 10:07 am

Well, turning all the land over to non-farmers hasn’t worked out so well in Zimbabwe, but that’s probably just a statistical glitch.

Reply to  Andrew Cooke
September 2, 2017 9:39 am

AndrewC 9:24 am – From each according their ability; TO each according to their need.

Reply to  Andrew Cooke
September 2, 2017 2:56 pm

AC 9/1 9:24am From each according to their ability: TO each according to their need.

Reply to  Caligula Jones
September 1, 2017 10:18 am

I don’t know where you got that idea.
German farmers are keeping their farms financially afloat but putting up wind farms owned by the local community….
UK’s farming organisation the NFU endorses putting up solar panels on poorer quality grazing land.

Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 12:46 am

any argument of substance Forrest?

Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 4:38 pm

Apologised for maliciously lying about Dr. Crockford with the express intention of trashing her credibility yet, you nasty little creature?

September 1, 2017 9:23 am

To those who would take away my ability to burn element 6 I say element 82 for you.

September 1, 2017 10:15 am

And yet the ice is melting both in antarctica and the arctic. Maybe we can expand farming in Greenland as more dirt becomes
visible 😉

September 1, 2017 10:28 am

Lots of misinformation and fear mongering here. The author clearly has little to no knowledge of solar.
Just off the first paragraph, there could never be “shards of glass flying around” for 2 reasons. These installations are designed to withstand hurricane force winds. AND the glass is tempered, so if it were to break, it would be into harmless pellets.

Reply to  Evan
September 1, 2017 11:21 am

Yes, solar is where these posts go off the rails, at least with utility scale solar from the sector leaders.

Andrew Cooke
Reply to  Evan
September 1, 2017 12:44 pm

Actually, although I enjoy posting sarcastically I know that “I” personally do not fear monger. That is the professional skillset that AGW is based upon, so I don’t like it myself.
Frankly, the connection between hurricanes and solar arrays is pointless, although I do have to question the intelligence of the idea due to location. Is it cheap land? Oh wait, are they going to lease the land? Who is the land-owner?
But getting beyond that, I do know a little bit about solar and most of the other non carbon burning forms of power generation. Did you see the recent articles about the only rare-earth mine in American and how the government has looked at nationalizing it. Have you wondered why?
Do you know the primary difference between solar and wind power generation and fossil fuel power generation? No, CO2, is not the answer. Look up what rare-earth elements are used for.
Oh, and have you ever done a study on the difference between fossil fuel power and solar and wind power from a financial engineering standpoint? What is the break-even without government grants and credits? Please do not refer me to an article written by a journalist who has not even taken a class in Calculus, much less Financial Engineering.

Andrew Cooke
Reply to  Andrew Cooke
September 1, 2017 12:46 pm

Forrest, yes these post go off the rails. Why? Because, solar and wind is NOT efficient. Nor do they provide baseline power. And batteries need rare earth elements.

September 1, 2017 10:28 am

What a shill. 20% efficiency of clean sunlight is better that 100% energy extracted from coal.

Andrew Cooke
Reply to  Luca
September 1, 2017 12:48 pm

Wow. I hope you meant that ironically. Because if not, it was ironic.

Mariano Marini
September 1, 2017 11:40 am

The only place worth for solar panels are house’s roofs and 7-8 meters over the Highways and Railroads.
This way no extra soil is consumed.

Reply to  Mariano Marini
September 2, 2017 12:45 am

Solar panels are also currently found over railways, on reservoirs (reduces evaporation), over irrigation canals, in an old open cast uranium mine, on a former soviet training area in Germany too polluted to return to agriculture (and possibly soon in the Chernobyl zone), on the concrete of old airfields…
They can easily be placed over parking lots (where they provide shade).
…and of course are regularly grazed or used for bees/as a nature reserve for plants/insects.
No extra soil is ‘consumed’ by any large solar installation.

Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 4:39 pm

“No extra soil is ‘consumed’ by any large solar installation.”
Another flat out lie.

Kenneth Frank
September 1, 2017 11:53 am

Poorly researched article. It misses the point in that poorly planned solar generation does not make current electric generation better. A well planned electric distribution system will allow solar to be developed in sun efficient areas. Although future generations will be paying for this, they will also be reaping the enormous benefits.

September 1, 2017 12:09 pm

It strikes me that solar could be best used to generate electricity for applications that increase their power consumption during sunny periods. Thus, for example, solar panels on roofs of buildings, used to power air conditioning inside the buildings: power when and where it’s needed.

Reply to  Andrew
September 1, 2017 12:21 pm

…and when the market values it

Janice Moore
Reply to  Andrew
September 1, 2017 12:38 pm

It would still be significantly less costly to power the AC with non-“renewable” power.

Janice Moore
September 1, 2017 12:32 pm

Bottom of the thread. No Griff cost analysis. What — a — surprise.

Janice Moore
September 1, 2017 12:36 pm
Janice Moore
September 1, 2017 1:37 pm

I’m not seeing a rainbow, Mr. Gardener. You were blessed with a special sight of a lovely thing to give you joy today, perhaps? (shrug) 🙂
Off topic, further:
Mr. Gardener,
I have been thinking of you and wanting to extend my deep sympathy at the death of your countrywoman at the hands of a U.S. police officer in Minnesota this summer. After your concerns about guns in the U.S., this must have been especially appalling. I who am used to the situation in the U.S. was dismayed and disgusted ….. and angry. Everyone makes mistakes, including police officers, but, this looks like recklessness, to me, thus, it is inexcusable.
I am sorry that charges have not yet been filed (and of course, the officer is innocent of malfeasance until proven guilty, but, imo, he needs to be tried for this act). Apparently, it is normal for such an investigation to take 3 – 4 months (Source: ). That sounds TERRIBLY long to wait, given the circumstances, but, things like this do typically take months, not weeks.
If the officer is not prosecuted for this, it will be wrong. And I hope that her family will hire a lawyer (hopefully, one will do it on a contingent fee basis) to bring a civil action against Officer Noor/his employer (there should be “malpractice” type insurance to go after, even if he is essentially “judgment proof”).
Again. VERY, VERY SORRY at what happened.
With sympathy and many prayers,
Your American friend,

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
September 1, 2017 7:42 pm

Thank you for your response, Mr. Gardener, and for the gracious words.
And, yes, indeed, why do some promotion-designers think that annoying people will make them buy their product? I have said from time to time, “And because you have annoyed me so much, I will never buy from you!!!!!”

September 1, 2017 2:13 pm


John Macdonell
September 1, 2017 3:29 pm
September 1, 2017 4:02 pm

A better appraoch would be to turn the area into a forest. The effort in planting tree seeds is far less then is required to provide a solar energy facility in terms of CO2 added to the atmosphere. Trees operate using solar energy and take CO2 right out of the air and make use of it to create wood. Native trees should be able to grow from seed with no further human effort.

Reply to  willhaas
September 2, 2017 10:45 am

There are thousands of acres of tobacco in eastern N. Carolina, largely in small plots of about an acre or so. It’s a crucial cash crop for the small-holders – very labor intensive, hard work in hot Sun, highest mortality rates in the nation, especially cardio-vascular.
Don’t know how much cash one could receive by replacing a tobacco patch with PV panels, but if net metering could make it compare to the amount tobacco brings in, it would sure be an easier, healthier way to make a living. And what’s not to like about reducing tobacco production?

Jane Rush
September 1, 2017 5:00 pm

I have found a UK planning application for a solar farm which states that the land will be returned to agricultural use after 25 years. Clearly ‘saving the planet’ is not a permanent strategy – just a wheeze. By the way Griff should be aware that combining livestock with solar panels is just a PR thing. If you actually farm you will know that it cannot really work to any great extent – the grass will not grow very well underneath them. Look carefully on the internet and you can find the more established solar farms where the grass has died under the panels. I’m sure you can put a few sheep in amongst them but not as many as if the whole field was pasture. As for the wild flowers – I would like to see the evidence of species diversity after 10 years.

September 1, 2017 6:58 pm
Another ship of fools, of sort. The relevance is that their solar power gave out because of days of cloudy weather.

Reply to  Joel Hammer
September 2, 2017 12:40 am

Though do note they were able to get to nearly 80 degrees north in ice free sea in a rowing boat before getting stranded on the way back.
That journey would not have been possible in the last century

Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 5:04 am

This article was posted as an example of the failure of solar power to deliver a mission critical service. This thread was about solar power, But, speaking of ships of fools. They just gave up, too.

Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 5:06 am

Meanwhile, serious people are driving their boats around Houston saving lives. The contrast could not be more extreme.

The Original Mike M
Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 1:13 pm
Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 4:42 pm

“That journey would not have been possible in the last century”
Making stuff up again…

Mark Nagle
September 1, 2017 10:21 pm

how is 214 days 20% of any year (9 hours per day is pretty standard)?? it’s so sad when you can literally taste the corporate oil dripping out of a “renewable is actually bad article”.

Reply to  Mark Nagle
September 1, 2017 10:26 pm

(214/365)(9/24)=.2254 or approximately 20%. BTW, I’m pretty sure that there is less than 1 hour of that 9 where solar production is 100% of rated capacity.

Reply to  Charles Rotter
September 3, 2017 6:57 am

The boaty crowd were early implementers of solar power. For 25 years the standard calculation, proven by experience, was to assume 4-5 hours of nameplate capacity during the sunniest half-year in a sunny region at 30-35 degree latitude. Daily power production comes in a fairly narrow bell curve, subject to the occasional day or week of almost nothing.
If the solar crowd wanted to demonstrate the true cost/kwh of solar grid power, they would follow traditional accounting practice and charge to solar all of the additional system costs incurred by accepting and following the irregular and bell-curved nature of solar production. They do not want to do this for good reason.
In the end, the true net cost of solar is far greater than proponents admit because electrical power generated when it is not needed has negative value, and irregularly intermittent power generation incurs costs throughout the generation and delivery infrastructure.

September 2, 2017 12:52 am

Here’s a plan to install solar for 800,000 low income families…

The Original Mike M
Reply to  Griff
September 2, 2017 1:29 pm

News from the future …
Sept. 2027 – “Retirement Home Sues Government for Roof Collapses” London pensioners filed a class action lawsuit for underwriting a ten year old solar program that encouraged installation practices that led to roof collapses from leaks that rotted rafters. Injuries ranged from a minor loss of personal possessions to, in one instance, a bite from a rabid squirrel that had gained entrance to a home through the attic and crawled into the bed of a sleeping pensioner one night. ….

Reply to  Griff
September 3, 2017 1:11 am

September 2, 2017 at 12:52 am
Here’s a plan to install solar for 800,000 low income families…
“The firm providing the panels, Solarplicity, will work with more than 40 social landlords, including local authorities across England and Wales.
It will profit from the payments received under the feed-in tariff scheme and payments for energy from social housing customers.”

As always, being paid for by other peoples money, in this case taxpayers topped up with money from other electricity customers. This, together with all the temporary jobs is not a sustainable proposition.
How this article has the nerve to claim that subsidies are not required is incredible. Typical BBC reporting of distortion and lies.

September 2, 2017 6:37 am

Nice hit job. Increasing supply of solar does not increase co2 emissions. Yes you need backup grid power if you don’t have a grid adjacent battery backup. batteries (9¢/kwh amortized) plus solar or wind (3-7¢/kwh in most markets), today are only slightly more expensive for 100% reliable clean and conditioned power output, WITHOUT subsidies. I personally agree the feed in tariff-analogous net metering system is inefficient and it unreasonably subjects local power customers to wild price variation against their will. It should end. But solar and, even more so, wind are the future of grid power and by 2030 are conservatively projected to cost less to power 100% of tropical and temperate grids with battery backup, unsubsidized, at rates comparable to existing natural gas, with no gaseous or particulate externalities.
Contact me via email for more information and discussion

Ajay Goyal
September 2, 2017 7:53 am

I am glad to see so much “reaction” to a very very flawed article….. the author does not understand anything about efficiency, capacity factor etc…. Not sure what his/her qualifications are…..
However I am glad at the massive response… right or wrong… it is very heartening to see that there is so much “grass roots” support (no we donot need Trump) for solar, renewable, green technologies…. with or without polluting fossil fuels or radioactive wastes from nuclear plants.
GOD BLESS THE USA and the 7 Billion residents around the globe who call… Earth… their home and want to keep it clean and healthy…… for all!!!

Ajay Goyal
September 2, 2017 8:09 am

I would urge ALL developers of this and other “solar farms” to consider installing solar greenhouses…. using the roof as a solar facility and the enclosed area below as year round… greenhouse (yes the solar panels will help “moderate” the temperatures in the greenhouse too).
Further, some or all, the electricity generated can be used to power hot and cold water producing Heat Pumps with a COP (using energy out/energy in) of 9 or greater resulting in a thermal efficiency of greater than 100%…… for heating and (agricultural/commercial) refrigeration purposes.
Yes… you can have your cake and eat it too….. now the question is….. will the “financiers” funded by the Federal Reserve, and backed by Uncle Sam (aka you and me) help out… you and me…. by funding these “self-paying” projects when properly designed and executed.
Needless to say….. this preserves farmlamd for agriculture and the controlled environment in these greenhouses… further enhamce the quality and quantity (less vulnerable to natural cakamaties) of produce… for ALL CPNSUMERS…. WITHOUT DEGRADING THE AIR and improving the environment and health of all…. as those polluting plants can be shutdown… one by one….

Reply to  Ajay Goyal
September 2, 2017 10:18 am

Ajay 9:08 am. How would sunlight get to the plants in the greenhouse if8 it’s roof is covered with solar panels?
Also, in response to JJB MK1 on 9/1 at 3:47 a.m. asking about banks creating money, a good source is The Creature from Jekyll Island by Edward Griffin. It tells about the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank and how it makes money out of thin air in our debt-based monetary system. It’s 600 pages, but you only need to read the first 200, or just read the preview and summary at the beginning and end of each chapter, which takes about an hour. You could also Google “The Globalist Agenda” and scroll to the passage quoting Sir Josiah Stamp, president of the Bank of England in the 1920s.

Gunga Din
September 2, 2017 2:29 pm

Sunflowers that never quite bloom.

Derek Colman
September 2, 2017 6:09 pm

Your math is wrong. Solar panels only generate about 12% of installed capacity, and you have it at 25%. You have not accounted for the low output before and after midday, and the effect of clouds. At 2 hours before and after midday output is only half what it is at midday.

September 5, 2017 10:27 am

Late to the party and never got through all the of the comments but…
No question of the impact to 600 acres of biodiversity? We can stop irrigation in California because of impacts to a few fish (which are harmed more by annual survey sampling than they would be by irrigation allowances but I digress) but we won’t even for a second consider what essentially “paving” over 600 acres will do to the area in question and the associated flora and fauna? Stunning ignorance again of the weekend environmentalist. Sure, mammals are often cute and furry but they are relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things when we consider plants, fungi and insects for example. But then Disney doesn’t do those.

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