Massive East Coast solar project generates fury from neighbors

From Fox News

Alex Pappas

By Alex Pappas | Fox News

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. – Michael O’Bier has lived here on a hidden piece of land nestled against thousands of acres of trees in rural Virginia for 32 years.

Now, the trees are gone and the 62-year-old O’Bier says he’s packing belongings into cargo trailers. That’s because the site of the largest proposed solar energy project on the East Coast could end up only 62 feet away from the side of his two-story home.

“I would have to leave,” O’Bier told Fox News on a drizzly afternoon this week, looking out over a field of already-cleared trees adjacent to his property. “I can’t live here.”

“I would have to leave,” resident Michael O’Bier told Fox News, as he stood at the side of his property. “I can’t live here.” (Alex Pappas/Fox News)

“I would have to leave,” resident Michael O’Bier told Fox News, as he stood at the side of his property. “I can’t live here.” (Alex Pappas/Fox News)

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The company sPower wants to build a 500-Megawatt solar project on the 6,350-acre site in western Spotsylvania County, with 3,500 acres being used to house 1.8 million solar panels. The land, currently owned by seven different landowners who plan to sell it to the company, has already been cleared for timber in anticipation of the project. sPower has said the project “will be safe, reliable, quiet and screened from public view.”

But a vocal contingent of activist-residents are working to pressure county officials to deny special use permits for sPower, arguing it would have disastrous environmental, economic and cultural impacts on the area. They point out that the proposed site is nearly half the size of Manhattan.

“Once you let the bulldozers loose, it’s really tough to stop the environmental damage,” said Dave Hammond, a 64-year-old retired chemical engineer who lives in the nearby Fawn Lake community.

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Hammond, an active project opponent, said the project would be an “an environmental disaster” for the area. Aside from the thousands of acres of trees that have been cleared, the Concerned Citizens of Spotsylvania group is also worried about water usage at the site, erosion, toxic materials, the potential for fires and the decommissioning of equipment if the project were discontinued. They’re also concerned that the price of electricity for residents could rise because of additional burdens on the conventional grid, though sPower insists it will have no impact on consumer rates.

An aerial view of O'Bier's home, and the proposed solar field next to it. (Courtesy of Michael McCord/Fredericksburg Aerial Drone Photography)

An aerial view of O’Bier’s home, and the proposed solar field next to it. (Courtesy of Michael McCord/Fredericksburg Aerial Drone Photography)

Opponents argue that the project would forever change the character of historic Spotsylvania County, where the Battle of the Wilderness, the Battle of Chancellorsville and the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House took place. “The center of the Civil War is a mile and half from this thing,” said Kevin McCarthy, a 64-year-old retired music director who also lives in Fawn Lake.

They also argue that the county would lose money from lost tax revenue because the solar panel project would lower property values for homeowners — an argument sPower contests. During a driving tour of the area, Sean Fogarty, a 63-year-old retiree with a background in engineering, pointed to a lot purchased by a couple who planned to build a lakeside home not far from the site. Fogarty said the owners have since decided to sell it because of the solar project.

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The Spotsylvania project would be the largest east of the Rocky Mountains and opponents point out that other solar power plants of comparable size are found in sparsely populated areas like deserts. “You’re changing ecosystems forever, and you’re getting closer and closer to people,” Fogarty said of the decision to build in Virginia.

Sean Fogarty, a 63-year-old retired Navy officer who opposes the project, gives a tour of the area impacted by the proposed sPower site. (Alex Pappas/Fox News)

Sean Fogarty, a 63-year-old retired Navy officer who opposes the project, gives a tour of the area impacted by the proposed sPower site. (Alex Pappas/Fox News)

But Taylor Keeney, a spokeswoman for the project, pushed back against the residents’ concerns in a phone interview with Fox News. She provided a copy of a poll commissioned by sPower that found that 67 percent of registered voters in Spotsylvania County are supportive of the solar power plant.

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She said the construction project will benefit the local economy, employing between 700 and 1,000 workers while taking a year and half to two years to complete — though opponents said they doubt it will lead to many permanent jobs for locals. Microsoft and Apple have announced plans to purchase energy from the project.

Keeney said the opposition to the project is particularly vocal, but others, like Spotsylvania resident David Wilson, whose property also sits next to the proposed site, are for it.

“We are very proud of the possibility of Spotsylvania County paving the way to a future of clean and renewable energy and we hope this board also sees the value of this project,” Wilson wrote in a recent email to the members of the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors.

As for the concerns from the opponents, Keeney said the company doesn’t believe area property values will go down, citing the findings of a local appraiser commissioned to study the issue. “From everything we can tell, there is no evidence of property value declines,” she said.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

 

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234 thoughts on “Massive East Coast solar project generates fury from neighbors

  1. What plans have they got to dispose of 1.8 million solar panels? Who will pick up the bill?

    Never mind, it will be a problem in the future for all those kids who are determined to stop climate change.

    • I’d love to link to the FOX NEWS articles but Internet Explorer stops functioning—censorship in process by Mr. Softy????
      Someone needs to contact FOX.

    • If the locals are lucky a large flock of giant birds will fly over the site and leave a trail of their opinions on all the solar panels. That’s if they fly at night, of course.

      The utter greed in this is appalling. There is no reference to the amount of erosion, among other things, that this will cost. Environmental damages don’t matter to people who want to inflict these things on us without our input.

      • Well, here in Madsachusetts there are fields of panels along I-90, Route 3, Rt 44 and other highways/roads.

        After any snowstorm, the panels remain covered with snow/ice for days, sometimes a week or more until it melts off when the wx moderates.

        No one ever clears them. It is astounding this happens.

      • These are PV panels, the birds can safely show their displeasure during the daylight hours. It is only those solar concentrator plants that fry the poor things.

        I don’t care how much you screen those things, they will be visible for miles around.

        • Imagine the visibility of industrial scale wind turbines near the shores of Ontario’s Great Lakes.
          Even city dwellers gasp when they see the locations of these turbines.

          • I imagine that in 30 years they will retain one of the decrepit units like the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche to warn future generations against the madness. Maybe a Tomb of the Unknown Raptor nearby.

          • I lived on Canadice Lake a decade ago. We may have helped to forestall industrial wind plants (they are NOT “farms”!) on the beautiful tall ridges between the long narrow lakes (Hemlock, Canadice and Honeoye) by requiring bonds to repair damaged rural roads and bridges, and to cover the cost of restoration of the turbines foundations if the site were to be abandoned.

            Our town and lake had been designated an Audubon “Important Bird Area”. I fear for that area today.

            Coincidently, we were right on top of Marcellus shale but unfortunately everyone in my little town was convinced fracking would poison their wells.

        • Quite frankly, looking at that picture of the house, the more screening the better, looks like the hillbillies live there.

      • Sara, a “smoker” is a bird that flew over a large solar array–and caught fire. There WILL be dead birds.

        But CO2 is the basis of all life, Mann’s complaint was that trees are growing, and these things must start to matter.

    • The lifespan of a solar panel is not very great – figure less than 20 years for satisfactory capacity.
      They will have to replace those panels 4 times before a nuclear reactor would be decomissioned.

      • Kent is ignorant or lying about the lifetime of solar panels. Here is the typical warranty on solar panels you can buy at Home Depot today:

        5 year 95% output warranty
        10 year 90% output warranty
        25 year 80% output warranty

        https://images.homedepot-static.com/catalog/pdfImages/7f/7f9239ca-ddc8-4304-8004-aabf811ce05c.pdf
        https://www.homedepot.com/p/Renogy-300-Watt-24-Volt-Monocrystalline-Solar-Panel-for-RV-Boat-Back-Up-System-Off-Grid-Application-RNG-300D/307983596

        The output of typical polycrystalline silicon panels like the one above drops about 0.6% year, which is 85% of original output after 25 years.

        http://energyinformative.org/lifespan-solar-panels/

        Solar power is non-dispatchable. The law of supply and demand and the inability to store electricity cost effectively makes electricity from solar power significantly less valuable that electricity provided by dispatchable generators, especially around noon. That is why governments must guarantee a market for solar power. These are good reasons for being skeptical about solar power. You don’t need to make up fake news.

        • Your link says: “The rated power output of solar panels typically degrades at about 0.5%/year. ” Why do you say: ” like the one above drops about 0.6% year?”

          At 0.5%, output would be 88.2% after 25 years.

          • Keith: I combined information from two different sources: 1) A website providing general information on a variety of solar panels, which might be biased. The output drop ranges from 0.96%/year to 0.36%/year. I rounded the output drop for polycrystalline silicon from 0.64% per year to “about 0.6%” per year, but calculated the output drop over 25 years using 0.64%. 2) The warranty on the first solar panel (a polycrystalline silicon device) listed at Home Depot, an unbiased double-check on the first website.

        • The warranty you linked is for a 24-volt DC panel. For grid power, which is what the article claims sPower intends to install, you need an inverter to turn DC power into AC, and you likely need a transformer as well. I don’t see any warranties on those. Furthermore, while the panel by itself may have a full-replacement warranty, who covers the installation of the replacement panel and the removal and disposal of the old one? If this project ever occurs, how much you wanna bet sPower leaves any failed ones in place, and simply accepts the derating from the loss of a panel here and there? Does anyone know the failure rate on these things? 1% within the first year? I’m not talking about the degrading of a single panel, how many of the panels shipped and installed turn into 0kW producers? Some will never produce power, some will fail within the first year, is that failure rate straight-line, or asymptotic?

          Does Virginia pay subsidies for “renewable” power? Do they have feed-in tariffs? Is the grid forced to accept the “renewable” power, even give preference to it over reliable power? What if you take all those away, is it still a good project? And as already asked, where/what is the backup for this? Were I to have any say in the management of a grid, I would insist any proposal to put power on my grid must be able to do so at some minimum continuous level 24/7, and pretty near to 365.

          Yeah, I’m not liking this project either, and I don’t live anywhere near there.

          • These cells are connected in series in order to provide the voltage needed.
            The loss of a single cell will make the entire string useless.
            All of the strings are sealed into a panel. The panel can’t be opened to replace a broken string, without damaging the rest of the cells in the panel.

          • When you get pressure from the state GOVERNMENT and large corporations ( Microsoft) local government cave, not thinking of the taxpayers!It’s the corporate bigwigs that benefit.All of the solar developer’s say how many homes the power would supply,The system is not for people the 3 being built here all go to companies in northern Virginia NOT IN SPOTSYLVANIA.
            PUTTING ON ROOFTOP COULD GRNERATE MORE POWER BUT ONE PROBLEM WE ALL WOULD SAVE!

        • And why exactly do governments have to “guarantee” a market for solar power?

          Seriously, if it doesn’t meet the requirements we need as a modern society then why bother? Build a nuclear plant and be done with it is CO2 is the concern. Why disrupt an entire market and drive the costs up for a source that fails to meet demand. It makes no sense.

        • Frank, February 17, 2019 at 12:21 pm
          Below is a link to an older article. Hopefully they have cleaned up their act (China) some what.
          A failure rate of over .5% on something intended to last twenty years is not acceptable.

          I worked in the manufacture of medical equipment. We counted a missing screw as as a non-conformance. If we dropped below 99.7 everyone in the company would hear of it.
          We normally were at 99.85 yeah I’m bragging.
          When using garbage materials and cutting corners it comes back to haunt you. Many of the failures do not start to show themselves for several years.
          The quality issue needs to be better addressed so the public can know what they are buying and who is actually manufacturing it, not just selling the product.

          https://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/business/energy-environment/solar-powers-dark-side.html

          michael

        • @Frank
          Reading the warranty, for the performance coverage the panel has to be tested under conditions determined and controlled by the seller, possibly at his facility.
          I can see real problems proving such a claim since a solar panel will seldom or never produce rated output. Solar radiation varies and is only at its peak once per year.
          How can the purchaser determine or prove the loss of output?
          The cost of lab testing could exceed the value of the panel.
          The general warranty is 5 or 10 years and refurbished panels can be supplied.

          • Billy and Mike: Current technology is perfectly capable of providing solar panels that lose less than 1% of their output per year. That is why competition is forcing manufacturers to provide warranties guaranteeing such performance. This doesn’t guarantee that every manufacturer isn’t going to take short cuts or skimp on quality control. A solar farm is going to have the ability to compare the output from one solar panel to an adjacent solar panel and easily demonstrate that the output is deteriorating more rapidly than guaranteed. And they will have the ability to monitor local solar irradiation and be able to predict what their output should be. They will buy panels from an organization with the financial resources to back up their warranty.

            Individual customers shopping at Home Depot don’t have these advantages (though Home Depot offers supplemental warranties on some of the product they sell). I’m personally sick of the quality of most products I buy at HD from state-owned factories in China that are designed to fail within a few years (dishwashers, dehumidifiers). However, most roof-top solar panels at Home Depot are sold to installers who are in the business and often being financed by local power distributors promising customers power at a certain price.

            Given the knowledgeable customers in the solar panel industry, I suspect that the solar panels one can be at Home Depot will prove far more satisfactory on the average than most of the other foreign-sourced junk being sold to individual Americans. I wish the NYT would publicize the problems with dishwashers and dehumidifiers! Just my opinion.

          • I can see real problems proving such a claim since a solar panel will seldom or never produce rated output. Solar radiation varies and is only at its peak once per year.
            Solar radiation peaks in January, however if you use a sun tracking system such as the SunPower T0 Trackers you get a much more constant performance throughout the year. In the system near me rated at 4.5MW, on a sunny day last week it peaked at 3.6MW, regularly exceeded 2.5MW during January, 4.1 MW in August & July and 4.3 MW in April, May & June. The system is 6 years old.

    • 1.8 million panels per farm and how many such farms ?
      The transfer of US dollars to China makes the head spin.
      That will be the REAL crisis our children will have to deal with if they can.

    • Good point. PV panels lose efficiency at the rate of 2% to 3% per year. So after about 20 years or so, they will have to be replaced. And, as you say, then what? Dispose of 1.8 mm panels and replace them with another 1.9mm panels and then after another 20 years, replace them again. A fossil fueled power plant just might be cheaper after all and have less impact on the environment.

    • A study by Ferroni and Hopkirk 2016 shows that after 25 years, solar panel farms in Germany & Switzerland produced only 82% of the energy required to manufacture, install, & maintain them. It also demonstrated that at this point in time (at current solar panel efficiency) latitude 35N (approximately the southern border of the state of Tennessee) is the solar energy break-even line. After 25 years of operation, solar farms north of this line produce LESS energy than it takes to manufacture, install, & maintain them, while solar farms south of this line produce more:

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516307066

      This solar panel farm is north of the break-even line

      • Spot on. Any experimentation with solar should be done in Florida due latitude or the Southwest due to a combo of latitude and clear skies.

        • One would think the southeastern US would be a great spot for solar power but experience will likely prove that to be untrue.

          In the prime solar months, severe thunderstorms with hail and embedded tornadoes are a regular occurrence. Anywhere near the coasts, any given solar array is likely to see near-hurricane force winds several times during a 25 year life span. Simply the normal summer heat quenched by near-freezing rain from towering nimbo-cumulus was enough to famously wreck metallic paint jobs on expensive European autos of the 70s and will be rough on solar panels exposed for decades. Not to mention the fact that insolation can be reduced to a surprising extent each afternoon as row after row of towering cumulus block the slanting sunlight like giant louvers. There is a reason that early US solar farms tend to be in dry-climate settings.

      • On the contrary, I’m living 49 degrees North. I’m currently thinking about buying PV solar panels to heat my water. Everybody is surprised. For now only thermal fluid solar panels were used to heat water. Problem is that thermal panels have ~90% efficiency, PV panels have ~17%. But:
        PV panels are 4 times cheaper per installed area. So I don’t care about efficiency, but total power output and price.
        In my case I can buy PV solar panels rated 325W for 165$. Only application for them will be to heat my water. This is for me 12$/month expense at 8kWh/day usage.
        I already have 500l hot water boiler. I will use 1.3kW electrical heating element directly connected to solar panels via thermostat.
        So my total budget will be 4xPV solar panel, total rated 1300W. for 664$ and 1.3kW heating element for 30$, plus 100$ for cables, holders etc. 794$ total.
        I’m expecting gain 1.3kWh daily average in winter and 8kWh in summer. Average 4.6kWh daily during year. This is giving me 58% of my total energy consumption for heating water.
        My current budget for heating water is 12$ monthly (cheap natural gas, electricity is 3 times more expensive), e.g. 144$ yearly. I will save 58% of that. 84$ yearly. That means my 794$ invested will break even after 9.4 years. PV solar panels comes with 12 years warranty. Absolutely easy system without need for maintenance.
        If somebody is heating water with electricity, break even time is around 2.5 times shorter around 3,7 years.
        I’m going for that…

        • I have some quibbles/objections with your analysis… First off, you will never get all of your water heated by electricity produced by solar panels. Your 100 l tank has stand-by losses around the clock, so when that thermostat clicks to “on” some time in the night to bring the temperature back up to your chosen set-point, that power will not come from your solar panels. In the dead of winter you get up to take your shower, then your wife takes her shower (that I’m betting lasts longer than yours), then your daughter takes her shower, and still the sun hasn’t come up… Maybe you should re-evaluate your evaluation, maybe take the amount of solar power produced and divide by two, or even three. And don’t forget, you still have to buy the equipment that will provide this backup, it’s not free, either. Yes I know you have to buy the electric water heater even if you don’t have any solar panels, I’m just saying, when you fill out your Building Life-Cycle Cost Analysis, your “do nothing” case has the cost of replacing that water heater during its lifetime, then the Case 1 must also include replacing your back-up electric (or gas, take your pick) water heater over its lifetime as well as the cost of buying and replacing the solar panels as they reach the end of their lives.

          • Actually I was using home made thermal solar collector for like 5 years, so I know exactly what to expect. I have 500l (135 gallon) boiler. My daily usage for 5 person family is around 200l (54 gallons) of 43C (109F) hot water. It is so big exactly for usage with solar heating where one day you can get 200% of daily usage, another day 0% and you are just fine. I can store in theory up to 3 days of my hot water needs. 3 days are good compromise between size of boiler and thermal loses.
            Loses of this boiler are around 2.6W/K. It is stored in room temperature when water has 43c, difference to ambient temperature is just 18C, loses are 47W. For whole day it makes 24hx18W=432Wh = 0.43kWh.
            So my loses are 0.43kWh where I’m working with average solar gain 4.6kWh
            Boiler has 2 thermal elements one in upper half, one in lower half.
            https://www.dzd.sk/images/sortiment/okc-ntrr.png
            Upper one is indirectly heated by natural gas. Lower one is connected to solar. That means gas is heating already solar preheated water and only upper half. Input water is around 14C(57F), output is 43C(109F). If my solar heats water only from 14C to 19C I saved something and rest is done by gas heating. If solar preheats over 43C, gas heating thermostat will switch off and not heat at all. Gas heating is responsible to keep water 43C warm, only adding to solar heat input.
            Main thermostat on boiler in this case has only one function, stop boiler from overheating and exploding.
            It was never designed as standalone system relying only on solar, but always with help of other source of heating.
            I wrote above that total energy gain from solar will be 58% which is perfectly on par with theoretical solar gain and practical cases.

          • Oh, I missed that the first time through, I thought the amount you were claiming as solar provided was equal to your total hot water requirement. Likely a comprehension failing on my part. And I recall being amazed at the 500 l boiler for a residence, but by the time I started writing my response the only number I could see was 200 l. Now that I see more of your design and analysis, I agree you have done a pretty good job. Go with it.

            And I am responding really to point out only one thing. In your previous comment you finished with Simple Payback (SPB) = 9.4 years… that’s about the same number I have been getting for the last 40 years (for carefully selected solar-thermal applications, such as yours), regardless of the price of a barrel of oil! That was a trend I noticed nearly 20 years ago, and it still hasn’t changed, and that alone made me realize solar will never replace fossil fuels or nuclear (or hydro if you can get it) except in unique and specialized circumstances. One application might be a remote location that would require miles of new transmission lines, and even then, while solar thermal + solar PV with battery back-up may come in significantly cheaper than the cost of running miles of new transmission lines, that power is still way more expensive than if one moved into an existing home in the nearest town.

          • 9.4 years is terrible, but I will go with it because I selected only parts which are designed to last. Boiler can last 40 years, electric heating element 20 years. Only weak link there are solar panels, but I’m going rely on their warranty 12 years and 85% efficiency after 20 years.
            I’m not going to use inverter, they are expensive, pushing your break even date far behind 10 years and most prone to fail.
            On the other side, I’m using extra efficient gas heating for hot water, my heater is condensation design, which is using condensation heat of hot gas too. Efficiency of this heater is around 107% where efficiency of classic gas heaters are around 80% for very old designs to 96% of newest.
            My price for kWh of heat is around 4 euro cents.
            Anybody using less efficient gas heating can go up to 5 cents per kWh.
            Electric heating of water here is 12 cents per kWh.
            And there is I guess 80% of all people using those less efficient kinds of water heating.
            So you can see that break even time for anybody using less efficient heating or electric will be much shorter.
            7.6 years for inefficient gas heating and
            3.2 years for electric water heating.
            Which is almost awesome.
            Those numbers are counted for my country and solar gain. Which on 49 north and foggy Europe is not very impressive.
            I lived 4 years in California, price for electricity is similar (at least PG&E Tier 1) but you have nice solar gain year around. My guess is two times as much. So instead of 58% I can save, guys there can save up to 80-90% of water heating costs.
            Break even date for them can be somewhere in 2 years.

            And another idea:
            do you know about mikroinverters?
            https://www.i4wifi.cz/Mikroinvertory-GridFree/GridFree-2kW-menic-230V-s-limiterem-SUN-2000G-vstup-45-90V.html
            This thing is taking all your solar electric output if available and adding to your home electric network. It is adding only so much you actually consume. So not returning to public electric network. Means no paperworks etc.
            Main problem here is that if you have more separate phases connected to your house you need separate inverter for each one. I have 3x220V so I would need 3 times 350$ to cover them all. And another thing, one phase I can use up to 4kW. That is easy with any combination of 2kW water kettle, 2kW washing machine heater, 2kW electric stove. And this thing can provide only 2kW from solar.
            But for some households using just one phase and less thermal appliances it would work nicely.
            With price of around 350$ and price of 2kW rated solar collector around 1000$ it will be possible to get nice break even date less then 5 years.

      • Louis: F&H (2016) claim that the manufacturer, installation and maintenance of solar panels consumes energy than they produce north of 35N. Does this make any sense to you? In addition to energy cost, there are materials costs, labor costs, land costs, capital cost and other expenses associated with solar generated electricity. Yet F&H somehow find that solar panels are money losers based solely on the cost of electricity! Commonsense should tell you something must be wrong – though confirmation bias makes it difficult to apply commonsense to things that confirm our deepest beliefs.

        In fact, F&H was rebutted by the following paper, which claims to correct seven mistakes and reaches the opposite conclusion:

        https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516307066

        • The price of the electricity has nothing to do with it. The energy consumed in manufacturing a solar panel is more than that panel will ever produce. So if the world will be powered by 100% renewable energy, then more and more plants are required to keep producing more and more solar panels that will never make up the energy consumed in producing them. The very definition of “unsustainable”!

          • Red94 says: ” The energy consumed in manufacturing a solar panel is more than that panel will ever produce.”
            .
            .
            .
            WRONG, WRONG, WRONG
            ..
            The easiest way to prove the above statement is wrong is by examining the retail price of a given solar panel, and determining how much energy it will produce over it’s lifetime. You can get a 100 watt panel on Amazon for $120. Now assuming a 20 year lifespan, and obtaining full rated output for 2 hours per day, you will get 1460 kwh out of it. $120.00/1460 = $0.08 per kwh, which is less than most utilities charge.

            Note that in large scale installations, the price per panel is much less than retail.

          • There you go again with the misdirection. I said at the beginning of my comment, it doesn’t matter what you pay for it! I have made the case, more than once, to install thermal storage. The basic idea is, since many utilities have a time-of-day rate, then during the off-peak hours when rates are lowest, make the [insert energy here, whether it be chilled water, hot water, even ice storage] and store it, then use it during the peak hours when rates are highest. Oftentimes I can show a $ savings, but when storing energy there are always stand-by losses so in the end the client will be using more energy even though they pay less for it. So as you can see, changing the conversation from energy to $ is clearly a misdirection. Even if it were true (it’s not) that solar panels can make energy cheaper than a nuclear plant, in the end it’s a bad idea because of the giant suck of using more energy to manufacture a solar panel than it can ever produce in its lifetime.

            Now if you had come back with something reasonable about how reliable these reports are, some say it’s more, some say it’s less, we could discuss that. But really, the fact that it’s close enough that we have room to argue about it tells me all I need to know. As my track coach used to say, “Don’t argue about the close races. You let him get close enough that he could argue about it. Win the race with authority, and you won’t need to argue about it!” So why would anyone advocate using an energy source that is so close to never paying for itself that we can argue about it, when there are so many energy sources available (coal, nuclear, natural gas!) that most definitely DO produce more energy than it takes to build them, a whole factor above and beyond!

          • @Keith Sketchley February 18, 2019 at 4:21 pm if it’s even close enough that we can discuss it, you got a problem.

          • Red94, I don’t have any problem, however it seems you have one. Show me a citation, otherwise your argument by assertion is a total failure.

          • https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy04osti/35489.pdf

            Now, if you have a better citation, please provide it.

            That document is dated January 2004. The energy payback time is based on:

            Today’s PV industry generally recrystallizes any of several types of “off-grade” silicon from the microelectronics industry, and estimates for the energy used to purify and crystallize silicon vary widely. Because of these factors, energy payback calculations are not straightforward. Until the PV industry begins to make its own silicon, which it could do in the near future, calculating payback for crystalline PV requires that we make certain assumptions.

            IOW, back in 2004 when panel production was much less they basically were using scrap from the semiconductor industry. In short, the energy payback time doesn’t include the all the energy used, only the energy needed to utilize the scrap.

  2. “sPower has said the project “will be safe, reliable, quiet and screened from public view.”

    Perhaps they will plant some trees?

  3. so when it rains and the trees arent there to protect the soils?
    reckon the runoff flooding wil be pretty impressive.
    that massive volume of dark surface reflecting upwards will sure change rainfall patterns as well
    winds? Id guess those trees provided a huge windbreak for the areas also.
    amazing how anyone cutting a tree is a pariah…unless its for solar or wind power.
    how the hell did they get away with not having to llow at least strips of trees for wildlife corridors?

    • ozspeaksup

      Didn’t you know. The green machine is harmless to all. It’s pure, and clean, and virtuous. It solves everyone’s problems and what’s more, it’s all free!

      I’m off to throw up after typing that.

      • Nah the wind they’d blame on Trump passing wind, and the floods would be due to him having some Russian Golden Shower Party near them. Then they would spend millions and two plus years to try to prove those things they already decided were true. Though they would eventually fall back to climate change, which let’s face it is a rigged game. The climate changes, it always will change, so if we get an ice age they can say “see climate change”, if we get a desert they can say “Climate Change”. By switching to the superset instead of a specific target they are using cultural Marxist word play to rig it so they can never be wrong simply due to them not saying anything specific.

    • The area will have to be mowed regularly and/or sprayed w/herbicides. Weeds in central VA grow like, well, weeds.

          • As long as the weeds are shorter than the panels, is there any need to keep them under control?
            Sheep did not cause the Sahara desert. The end of the ice age did.

          • The weeds will frequently grow tall enough to obscure the panels so usually mowing is needed. Sheep are frequently used for this around solar panels, they keep the pasture in good shape and cost much less than landscaping teams. The land is then doubling as a pasture and an electricity supply. Goats aren’t suitable because they tend to jump up on the panels and also chew the power cables!

  4. “……..screened from public view.>/i>

    If these things are so blasted good, why do they need to be screened from view?

    And aren’t polls wonderful. Greenwash people from early school-age, groom the rest of society with green renewable nonsense, then hoover up all the taxpayer subsidies before walking away when the whole lot goes tits up.

    • How many and which governments are paying their taxpayers money to subsidize this impending on-going disaster and how much are they having to pay in order that it be profitable for sPower to perpetrate this fiasco into the lives of the residents of the area? Then, will the cost of the subsidy payments be hidden from those taxpayers/ratepayers who are seeing the costs of the subsidies in their personal and household living costs? Governments are dens of thieves who facilitate private sector thievery.

      • “How many and which governments are paying their taxpayers money to subsidize this impending on-going disaster and how much are they having to pay in order that it be profitable for sPower to perpetrate this fiasco into the lives of the residents of the area?”

        That’s the question. How much will their electric bills go up after this project is completed?

        How does Apple and Microsoft go about buying power from this solar farm? Are their offices sitting right next to the solar farm where they can be directly connected to the output, or are they just virtue signaling and will get their electricity off the grid like everyone else?

        • Apple and Microsoft’s virtue signaling will consist of “paying higher electric rates” for the “green energy” that they are not getting any part of.

          And they don’t really care how much it costs because it is an “expense”, …… which is 100% deductible from their gross income.

          • As long as their competitors have to pay the same or higher rates, it helps them as a barrier to entry. Big business loves big government

          • “Microsoft and Apple have announced plans to purchase energy from the project.”

            Individual electrons can not be directed through the power grid to particular customers. The only way for those companies to receive power from this project is to build their facilities next door and lay a dedicated power line.

            Of course, the owners of this solar power plant would never allow that, as they will not get their subsidies if their power isn’t input to the grid.

            SR

  5. How the hell do you screen 3,500 acres from public view? And what is going to happen to all the carbon dioxide that would have fed the trees that have been chopped down? I doubt solar panels are going to store much “carbon”.

  6. “…the company doesn’t believe area property values will go down, citing the findings of a local appraiser commissioned to study the issue” who was paid handsomely for his report, no doubt.

    • Someone ought to investigate the connections between the local appraiser’s and whoever sets the tax rates.

    • Perhaps if they are so confident in the property values remaining as they are, the company can guarantee it. Oh, but what then if they are wrong?

  7. Put the area in square miles for impact.
    That is 10 square miles.
    Then miles long by one mile wide is a similar area.
    The cleaners will need a SUV each to get from one end to the other. How many cleaners each day, I ask?
    Geoff

      • Oops, my bad, 6300 acres of which 3500 acres will hold solar panels. So 10 sq. miles cleared but only half will hold solar panels, what will the remainder hold? Does not seem a very efficient use of the site.

        • 50% spacing for panel “farms” is what I always recall being the standard in terms of maintenance access and panel tilt accommodation. No way to avoid that, especially this far north (I live in Manassas, VA). This area has recovered so much woodland since the Civil War, its a shame to cut it down for an unsustainable energy source, and in the process get rid of the CO2 sink that the unsustainable energy source is supposed to remedy.

  8. 14 sq km and only 500MW?

    that is only 35W/sq m!

    solar panels peak out at 1Kw/sq m and average out at that latitude at 100W/sqm

    In this country projects have been stopped for not making best use of land..

    • 500MW from 3500 acres seems about right, the one near me is currently generating ~3.4 MW (a sunny morning at 9am) from 27 acres. Perhaps you’d prefer to grow corn for biofuels on that land, that would yield about 560 gallons of ethanol per acre.

    • The main problem is that simply mentioning MWs does not mean much in the context of efficiency and sufficiency in cost and production and utility, unless the energy factor considered.

      cheers

  9. If done correctly, they will install sufficient streetlights throughout the area. This will allow the panels to operate at night and provide a huge boost to the overall output of the solar panels.
    This would make the project perfect as part of the “Green New Deal”, or as we call it now, “The Green Leap Forward”.

    The project managers are sure that the taxpayers and rate payers will not mind.
    After all, these projects are Clean, Green, Make Jobs, and are CHEAPER!
    Go Green.

  10. New meme: “Massive solar plants are consuming so much solar energy they will start global cooling leading to the a new LIA.”
    Of course it is true, at least as much as the CO2 is causing global warming leading to the catastrophic overheating of the planet.

    • Of course you jest, but I would think that the surface covered in black panels instead of green trees is going to decrease albedo, increasing solar gain and thus warming. All of the solar energy that is converted to electricity will subsequently be converted to waste heat whereever the electicity is used, eventually adding heat to the environment. The only solar energy that won’t immediately result in warming would be energy used to lift mass to a higher potential energy (such as pumping water into a water tower), energy used to drive chemical reactions (such as electrolysis), or energy used to add latent heat (making steam or melting ice).

      In all of those cases, eventually we get waste heat when the potential, chemical, or latent energy is released.

      Then take into consideration the amount of fossil fuel burned in the manufacture and eventual recycling or disposal of the solar panels and the reduced carbon sink from the loss of 25.7 square kilometers of forest over the “useful” lifetime of this project. It’s not clear that it even produces a net reduction in carbon dioxide compared to the use of gas turbines to produce the same amount of electricity. It would certainly seem to be far more expensive than that alternative, and far more damaging to the natural habitat.

  11. So what’s the surprise?
    They converted one of Britain’s largest power stations from coal to woodchips.
    And now they are clear felling American forests to provide the wood chips to feed the power station. In Britain!
    I have come to the conclusion that greenies are way beyond pathologically stupid.
    They are something else, but my vocabulary is too limited to express what they are.

    • Yeah but you neglect how much energy is saved by not having to haul coal all the way to the power plant. I’m sure that offsets the trans-Atlantic journey of the wood pellets. Plus the fossil fuels burned to deliver the biomass is counted as Trump emissions, not related to the drax scheme so it’s sustainable /sarc

    • You forgot to mention one of the power stations was built no more than a few miles from one of the largest and most productive coal mines (fossbridge)…

      ..which of course they then closed citing it was “uneconomic”…so that they now have to cart the coal 3000-5000 miles across the continent using masses of fossil fuel to do so, from unsafe mines where miners routinely die from all the things the British mines were made safe from…

      All sound like pretty good eco – economics to me!
      Economical with the truth, economical with human life too eh?

    • Correct. But the subsidies won’t be permanently stopped until their mythical justification has been destroyed. That’s what it will take to bury the EPA’s Endangerment Finding.
      The GOP is blowing the opportunity.

  12. And then there is the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI). A quick look at the science (the Stephan- Boltzmann equation) reveals that these solar panels are more efficient than CO2 at warming the planet.

  13. Too late now, but that guy should have bought some acreage from the adjacent landowner to provide a buffer for an eventuality like this. That would horribly suck to live in that kind privacy for decades and then have no control over a neighbor clear cutting virtually to your front door.

    • Yes, this is cruelty. We’re seeing also in rural Ontario with the siting of industrial wind turbines…downright cruelty!

  14. This area is known for short but powerful storms, mini tornadoes with large hail. If they build this they better have good insurance.

    • Sure, they call it emergency disaster relief that our Congress critters will dole out at our expense. After all, any storms like that will be driven by Climate Change ™ and relief will be for The Children

  15. Cutting down 6300 acres of hardwood forest? It’s for the environment. (I don’t want to hear another GD word about ANWR.)

  16. What these selfish complainers, these poor infidels don’t seem to understand is that we must all make sacrifices for the Greater Good, which is the cause of Saving the Planet. Some more than others, of course. It takes small minds to not see the big picture that in order to be Green, some trees and animal habitat will need to be sacrificed. One cannot make an omelet without breaking some eggs. We must think of the future for our children, and for their children, and not allow selfishness and small-mindedness to get in the way. It is the Green way, or the highway to Hell after all.
    /satire

  17. Prophet, wise or fool.
    In 20 years, nature will be littered full of obselete “green energy” contraptions, strewn everywhere and politicians will avoid adressing who is responsible for cleaning up the mess. The mess they made.
    Land will erode where trees are cut down.
    I have this strong feeling of deja vu, am I a time traveller or insane? Or am I wise?
    I dont know anymore, how can I tell if I am sane in an insane world, or insane in a sane world?
    Is there a Turing test for that?

    My solution to stay sane is to interpret the world like this:
    I say politics are governed by emotion. What I interpret as insanity is just fear driven irrational reactions to a percived threat. I wrongly assume that most people have powers of reason to control their irrational emotions. Supposedly this is what separates us from the animals. I only have to accept that many people are basically animals driven by emotions with only modest powers of reasoning not strong enough to break free from the emotional grip of fear.
    Basically, I must accept beeing stranded on the planet of the apes and try to accept that my-our fate is decided by lesser evolved humanoids.
    Depressing but at least Im not crazy.

    • ” Land will erode where trees are cut down.”

      IMO not really an issue where this project is located. Pretty flat, weeds will come up fast and they will have to gravel the entire area for it to be workable.

      • Not necessary to gravel, just let grass grow and keep a flock of sheep to keep the grass under control, works well.

      • I live about 30 miles from the site – one county over. I guess you’ve never heard of Virginia clay. Its like concrete. There WILL be massive runoff to deal with one way or another. Flash flooding is always a problem around here and this will probably make it worse in that area.

      • Erosion isn’t the problem in this area – flash floods are. As the crow flies I live about 30 miles from the site in a bordering county. Perhaps you’ve never heard of Virginia clay, but when there is no ground cover its kind of like concrete when it comes to runoff. Spotsy is a very rural county, with mostly 2-lane roads running through and around the VA hills and if the runoff isn’t handled well it will be a nightmare for a lot of people.

    • The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy

    • Or when there is less than 8 hours of daylight?

      Dumbdumbdumbdumb dumb!

      Someone further up brought up a great point–what about the wildlife corridors? How did that get past PA’s department of natural resources?

  18. These things should be placed along highways, long rows by the big freeways, it is already available land, access is easy, and no trees need be felled.

  19. Removal of a most efficient solar collector,
    to install less efficient solar collectors.
    Perhaps growing and harvesting the carbon collecting trees might be more efficient?
    But then they have don that already,
    Arrhh! the lovely smell of burning wood drifting on the air from Drax?

  20. You guys are a bunch of Luddites. They don’t make noise. They don’t homogenize raptors. They don’t incinerate migrating songbirds. They aren’t in my neighborhood. What’s not to like?

    • The inverters make too much noise. 66 dBA at 10 meters away. Adverse health effects begin at 40 dBA. An inverter must be about 800 feet away to get to the safe 39 dBA noise level. Just because it is safe doesn’t mean it reduces quality of life. Widsoread complaints begin at 34 dBA. I would never live within a mile of this.

      • Really? I live within a mile of a solar farm and certainly don’t notice any noise from it . Of course a car passing at 30mph along the road 100 yds away will generate 62dBA and a medium truck ~73dBA.

      • The inverters make too much noise. 66 dBA at 10 meters away.

        First utility scale inverter I found in a search specifies 65dB(A) @ 1m for 185 KVA rating.

        Adverse health effects begin at 40 dBA.

        Cite please. Typical ambient noise levels during the day are at least 10 dba higher. Normal conversation is around 60 dba.

        An inverter must be about 800 feet away to get to the safe 39 dBA noise level.

        Outdoors the inverse square law is pretty close. In this case it would be closer to 375 feet.

          • The array will produce 500 MVA. How much noise will 2,700 185 kVA inverters make?

            A rather silly question as there is obviously required information lacking in your question. I can tell you it won’t be anywhere close to 68 dba higher that a simple power ratio calculation would indicate.

  21. “They point out that the proposed site is nearly half the size of Manhattan.”

    Manhattan … Is not this one of the places where can be observed the greatest concentration of warmistas?

    So, this project should be achieved where people most want it : say, in Manhattan central Park (3,41 km²) ?

    OK, that’s 10km² less than required (3500 acres), but the good thing is that warmistas could finally taste the joys of “adopting clean energy to save the planet”.

    /SARC off

    • Look at the sky in the picture of the home owner. How many winter days does it look like that?
      And what do you call those things on the surrounding trees, you know the green things that fall off every autumn and litter everything in sight.

  22. The photo on the home page shows a large array with cropland on either side. No trees to cut down.

    Oh, the photo has nothing to do with this other than being a big array. Very misleading….

  23. Green logic: 3500 acres of mined aluminum, concrete, toxic chemicals, and glass is better for the environment than 3500 acres of trees.

    I live in North Carolina. I did the math for putting solar on my house. It would take me 30 years with the tax subsidy before I see a return-on-investment. That was factoring in the panel degradation over time. Of course, the panels only last 20 years. The climate of North Carolina is similar to Virginia, except Virginia is colder because it is further from the equator. Which, of course, means that solar is even less effective there. Solar panels would need to be twice as efficient before they become financial beneficial.

    FYI, I also did the math between a new Toyota Camry and a Camry hybrid. I found out that at $2.509/US gallon, it would take you about 175,000 miles before you the make your money back paying extra for the hybrid. I chose that number because gas prices in North Carolina will probably hover around that during the summer even though it is lower than that now. But the batteries need to be changed at about 150,000 miles. If gasoline starts to cost $3.009/gallon, it would be about 145,000 miles before you pay off the extra cost of a hybrid. Essentially, as long as gas prices are below $3.00 and 9/10 of a cent — why do they charge 9/10 of a cent? — then you are better off not getting a hybrid version of a vehicle.

    • I could see where that might be a moving target. If gasoline prices exceed $3/gal, will electricity cost the same or more or less? The current trend for electricity seems to be up, probably due to the steady increase of non-dispatchable power as well as the aging infrastructure.

    • Answer to your question – for the same reason that merchants price goods at X.99, not (X + 1).00. Quirk of human psychology that translates to a significant difference in their gross revenues.

      Quick search gave me estimates of between $150 and $500 million more in annual revenues from that 9/10 of a cent that the vast majority of people don’t really notice at the pump.

    • Yes Wade, the economics don’t exactly work in the favor of hybrids. That has been known since I first looked into one in maybe 2005.

      The Prius made huge sales in large part because it was a unique vehicle. It wasn’t a hybrid flavor of a gas-powered car like with the Camry. You could compare the Prius (as many did) to a Corolla in terms of bang for the buck and how high gas prices would be/how many miles would have to be accumulated before the price difference became cost-effective, but the Corolla lacked the hatchback and practicality the Prius brought to the table. Note that Toyota now makes a Corolla hatchback, so that is out the window.

      For the record, my hybrid battery lasted 9 yrs and 177,000 miles. I drive my Prius pretty harshly, for what that’s worth. I am sure the hybrid batteries being produced today last much longer than they did for the 2010 models. I spent $2.2k on a 3rd-party replacement that has a 4yr, unlimited mileage warranty.

  24. It should be against the law to replace Nature’s own proven “solar panels” (trees) with our pieces of crap. This is just stupid. I can see solar out in the plains, desert, middle if the ocean …. but not in a beautiful tree belt, like VIrgina.

    Repeat of others …. this is pure stupidity on display.

    • yes, you are right. trees perform a vital function and look good as well. this isn’t the place for what is an eye wateringly large piece of industrial infrastructure which will shortly have an on-going impact on the local habitat.

      you don’t save the environment by trashing the countryside.

  25. Just think, when the GND hits Virginia, they’ll only need about 50 more 500 megawatt solar projects to replace all the bad fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. At 3500 acres each that comes out to 280 square miles.

    Bet that will bring out the screams from the tree huggers.

    • That 500 megawatt figure is NAMEPLATE capacity, not actual output capacity. In Virginia figure 4 to 5 suns per day, which would yield between 83 and 104 actual megawatts of average power.

  26. Excerpted from article:

    But a vocal contingent of activist-residents are working to pressure county officials to deny special use permits for sPower, arguing it would have disastrous environmental, economic and cultural impacts on the area.

    And just where is James Hansen et el and all the other “tree hugging” environmentalists that have been actively PROTESTING mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining sites in Ky, Va and WV that are not 1/10th the size of that 3,500 acres sPower site?

    Same process occurring at both locations, …… “clear-cut” the green growing biomass and then bulldoze the topsoil away, down to smooth “hardpan”.

  27. And where are the solar panels made? As far as I can tell, we don’t have much of a solar panel manufacturing industry here in the U.S. (remember Solyndra?). I suspect the utility is buying panels made in China, but I don’t know for sure.

    There is yet another solar panel maker that shut down its operations in Portland, Oregon, a while back:
    https://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2017/08/10/solarworld-ripple-effect-hillsboro-supplier.html.

    I recall reading that it will cost about $500,000 to clean up the toxic mess the Hillsboro plant left behind.

    So we have many acres of trees that need to be cleared for solar farms and the toxic waste the panels leave behind. Add in grid stability issues when the sun goes down or when the weather clouds up. Total it all up and you have idiocy on a pretty large scale. Green energy?? Ummm, yea. Right. And AOC is a Republican.

  28. I live on the edge of BLM land in the California Mojave desert. I keep waiting for the signs to go up for one of these projects right next to our neighborhood. I’ve been here for 30 years and have fought in the long losing battle to keep access where gov and NGO forces use desert tortoise and ground squirrel habitat to close down access. For the last 10 years or so solar and wind projects apparently have no impact on these populations and can build hundreds of miles of roads and blade off any number of thousands of acres (sarc).

  29. I assume that “500 megawatts capacity” figure is nameplate capacity. In reality the average output
    would be based on 4 to 5 “suns” year round, or somewhat less than 100 megawatts of actual output.
    Virginia has several nuclear reactor sites (North Anna, Surrey) and was planning on adding another
    reactor at North Anna. Virginia’s nuclear plants provide 41% of Virginia’ power. That additional reactor would likely have a actual capacity of 1200 megawatts and would produce that amount at all times, resulting in 12 times more power generated than that from this huge solar farm. Adding that additional reactor at North Anna would have required no additional land. They provide two land sizes for the solar farm. 3500 acres for the panels. I don’t know whether the other 3000 acres is required or not. If it is, then you would have to find 12 X 6000 acres (72,000 acres) to obtain enough land to collect the same amout of energy that the additional North Anna reactor could provided
    Even the Federal Energy dept only recommends solar farms in deserts. Virginia (my birthplace) is NOT a desert. And 100 megawatts of unreliable power is practically insignificant – its likely only effect will be to disrupt the local power grid.

  30. Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
    They pave paradise, put up a solar farm.

  31. The proper response to these crazy power schemes is to point out just how idiotic they are
    when compared to alternatives low or no carbon generation technologies. In the first place, the technologies are primitive 16th century technologies and secondly, they have an enormous enviromental footprint. The future of power generation is molten salt nuclear power, of that there is no doubt -just ask the Chinese, Indians, Russians, Bill Gates, the Canadians, etc. The costs of molten salt nuclear power will be far less than that of solar or wind and its environmental footprint is tiny.

  32. If this deal goes through, I bet the land owners will make a killing. Sell off the wood for lumber and pulp wood (for wood pellet and paper mfg), then sell the land at market rates. Trust me, country folks aren’t dumb.

  33. Is there some compelling reason to do this? Other than crony capitalism that is. 6350 acres gone, permanently, is not trivial. I thought we valued open space; for wildlife, for children. Evidently not. I guess Virginia’s not big on kids.

  34. This is going to be ironic… An area with huge energy reserves having brownouts due to clouds in the winter.

  35. Just how many trees have been cut down, adding just how much CO2 back into the atmosphere. Cutting trees down to make room for solar panels; as John Adams says on ‘Last Man Standing’. “NOT COOL”!

      • Not unexpected at all. Acreage to country folk is like a pension to city folk. In rural areas it’s common practice to invest in land as an investment to harvest the lumber (the recent wood pellet industry that utilizes junk trees has just added to the benefit), and then either sell the land, or hold on to it for the next iteration.

  36. The financing details on this seem hard to come by. Are any government subsidies involved? Who has agreed to buy the electricity?

  37. Polluters invest in these projects so the government will allow them to pollute. They get “green” credits but in reality they are now polluting in rural areas with the solar panels. City dwellers are clueless that these projects are harming the environment while turning rural areas into hazardous garbage dumps.

  38. Moderator – Since last week when I began using my new computer equipped with Google Chrome, I find it exceedingly difficult to post my comments on Anthony’s excellent website. What is happening here?

  39. Lots of people are pro solar energy, until the project is put in their backyard. Be careful what you wish for.

  40. The local newspaper The Fredericksburg Star carries articles regarding this fiasco.
    One trouble is that the Fredericksburg Star is well known for publishing what they are handed by businesses and politicians. They are not known for investigative reporting or even verifying facts.

    The people pushing this nonsense brought in a press relations team from Germany; big money is involved.

    As is Virginia’s democrat leadership; the obviously conflicted Governor and his cohorts.

    The “poll” they link to above;

    “December 15‐17, 2018
    N=400 Voters (40%Cells)
    Margin Of Error: +4.9%”

    I do not know anyone who was polled.
    Nor are many people willing to take polls after the polarized partisan last two years.

    Spotsylvania County has an estimated 133,000 people as of 2017.

    Fredericksburg City whose borders with Spotsylvania are poorly defined, on which more than one survey taker has erred has a population of 28,000 plus approximately 4,400 students attending Mary Washington University.

    If a company needed poll results positive for renewable energy,guess where they’ll solicit answers.

    Direct questions regarding the cost of solar power and who they are going to sell it too are not answered directly.
    The local electric company Dominion Power is coming across as supporting the solar project.
    Which causes many residents to suspect there are promises and contracts that will ensure profitability.

    No-one here expects electricity prices to stay cheap. Too many overt signs of political persuasion are already evident.

  41. “sPower insists it will have no impact on consumer rates”. If they really believe that, will they sign a long-term contract to supply electricity at the same rate as the other suppliers to the grid? No subsidies, etc. just the same deal as the coal-fired power plant down the road.

    • They “sell” virtue-signaling deals where you pay WAY over standard rates for the “privilege” of using renewables. Sounds ridiculous, but they’re prb’ly banking on enough gov-employed marks/sychophants in northern VA, DC & surrounding MD to fall for this.

  42. Why is it now politically correct to destroy the Environment to reduce the percentage of CO2 when their is no proof of the theory?

  43. Spot on. Any experimentation with solar should be done in Florida due latitude or the Southwest due to a combo of latitude and clear skies.

  44. Learn how to make solar panels, at home! It’s simple! Stock up on ethylene vinyl acetate and butyryl plastic and silicon nitride in industrial quantity, you can get them from your friendly local chemical plant. Have several thousand tons of quartzite gravel dumped in the back yard. You’ll have to build a carbon arc furnace to release the oxygen from the quartzite and render it into carbon dioxide (just release it, who cares, we’re saving the planet) and molten silicon. To do it cheaply you may want to buy the neighbor’s house to build a coal electric plant, and don’t forget the railway sidings! Remodel the kitchen with plenty of vats for the melted polycrystalline silicon you’ll need to grow crystals in solution and make Silicon Sausages. A diamond saw is usually used, though a chainsaw also works if you have a steady hand — to slice it into wafers 5 mils thick. Cut them into rectangles or hexagons or Solar Gingerbread Men with a cookie cutter and ball peen hammer. You thought you were done?? Now it’s doping time! Preheat oven pressurized with phosphorous gas to 2,570 degrees and bake for 20 minutes until the silicon is golden purple with phosphory goodness, then let cool. Garnish silicon cookies with titanium dioxide and silicon oxide as anti-reflective coating and broil for 5 minutes, using (dangerous and fun!) high voltage electrolysis to implant the coating. You are now ready to attach electrodes and buff and finish, and encapsulate in plastic. By making solar cells at home you can save money, and it will only be 12,000 years before each one generates the electricity used in its manufacture. But who’s counting! Have fun!

    • And how much will the electricity cost when made from “renewable” battery backed power. Recently retired from an Electric Utility. We sold electricity to are largest customers at $0.03 per kWhr. That is right three cents! And the utility was making money! None of our contracts for Wind/Solar are below that. The only contracts with renewables even close to that price are for the contracts given to Wind Turbine farms which provides them with a guaranteed place to dump their power and meet the requirements to deliver power to get the best subsidies from the government. And at the same time gives the Wind Turbine advocats bragging rights for their “Power Cheaper than Coal, Nuclear, etc.” Of course it is sold cheaper that Coal, Nuclear, etc because NO ONE WANTS IT. The contract negotiation remind me of those auctions where the price keeps going down till someone bites on it. Some even go negative.

  45. According to https://weatherspark.com/y/20988/Average-Weather-in-Spotsylvania-Virginia-United-States-Year-Round#Sections-Clouds , that location is overcast or mostly cloudy 35% of the year.

    In fact a graph at that website shows that the percentage of days in a month having complete overcast drops to less than 30% only for mid-Jun through end-October. The peak period of overcast is beginning-December through end-February, when 40% or more of the days are completely overcast.

    Guess when there is the most need for electricity for residential and commercial lighting and heating . . .

    Moreover, the days when “clear skies” and “mostly clear skies” together exceed 50% of the time occur only in late-August through end-October. That’s gonna be a big ouch on solar PV conversion efficiency.

    Not only that, Virginia has only two “pumped storage” dams generating electricity: the Bath County Pumped Storage Station that is 120 miles away and the Smith Mountain Lake facility that is 130 miles away. So, unless there is a massive expenditure for power lines and transformers to connect the PV farm to either pumped storage hydropower location, there does not appear any low cost way to store any excess power generated by this new massive PV installation. Ooops!

    It may be that sPower thinks this is a good site for their PV power plant to feed electricity to Richmond, VA, 45 miles to the south, but I suspect their prime target market is Washington, DC, only about 50 miles to the northeast . . . so the state of Virginia will likely endure all of hardships and environment damage mentioned in the above article to mostly benefit DC and Maryland residents (including, of course, the power broker politicians and lobbyists).

    Maybe sPower was revealing more than they intended when, according to the above article, they asserted that the PV power farm “will have no impact on consumer rates” (for those living in Virginia).

    • Follow-up regarding the second-to-last paragraph in my post above:
      The average residential cost of electricity in the state of Virginia is 11.08¢/kWh.
      The average residential cost of electricity in Washington, DC is 12.8¢/kWh.
      The average residential cost of electricity in the state of Maryland is 12.8¢/kWh

      So, which market(s) will maximize profits for sPower? As the saying goes, “that’s a no brainer.”

  46. What a load of malarkey. O’Bier could plant a few dozen pyramid cedars along his property line, and in a couple years he wouldn’t be able to tell whether there’s a solar array or a cornfield on the other side.

    If he thinks he should have the right to dictate how a neighbour uses their land, it follows that his neighbour should be able to dictate how he uses his own land.

    Look at the pictures again. Funny how O’Bier wouldn’t be able to tolerate a solar array next door but has no problem with the disarray in his own back yard — lined up along the property line and in full view of HIS neighbour.

  47. Sheesh….. destroying 3,500 acres of trees to get 500 megawatts of power – IF the sun is shining! Way to go, greenies! /sarc
    Solar and wind power are extremely poor when it comes to power generated in a given area of land. Nuclear power is *vastly* superior there. You could probably put a 500 MW nuclear plant on about 50-100 acres of land – anyway, a LOT less than 3,500 acres, and nuclear runs **all the time**, unlike solar or wind power.

  48. Funny how O’Bier wouldn’t be able to tolerate a solar array next door but has no problem with the disarray in his own back yard — lined up along the property line and in full view of HIS neighbour.

    It is his right as individual to organze his back yard as he deems right. This is part of his personal freedom. His backyard has got absolutely nothing to do with public affairs. But that solar panel array in his neighborhood has. And O’Bier, as a good citizen, has the right to oppose things that are dangerous to the public and himself. Although it is not openly disclosed, it may well be assumed that this solar plant, like all others, will be subsidized. So O’Bier will, as taxpayer, subsidize solar panels in his neighborhood that are not sustainable, neither in production(dangerous, carcinogene chemicals) nor in dismantling. Trees are.
    I do understand that man and how he feels.

    • “It is his right as individual to organze his back yard as he deems right.”

      Agreed. And you could have stopped right there because that’s the nub of my observation. His effort is directed towards thwarting his neighbour’s right to organize their “back yard as he [the neighbour] deems right.” In a nutshell that has the aroma of hypocrisy.

      People can shake out their sackful of rationalizations about why a solar array (or whatever) next door (or anywhere) is a bad idea, and some of them are likely to have merit. Some of them seem silly on their face… for example, I expect the fire risk of having one’s home surrounded by thousands of acres of forest is considerably diminished after the forest along one side is cleared away.

      But there’s a bigger issue here: to retain a right for yourself some day in the future, it might be wise to remain silent and permit your neighbour a similar right today. Otherwise, one by one, governments and bureaucrats will happily take your property rights away. From what I’ve read, many would agree that the EPA is a master of that particular craft.

  49. “other solar power plants of comparable size are found in sparsely populated areas like deserts. “

    Didn’t the UN call that a violation of rights—dumping this garbage where there are not enough people to fight back?

    DESTROY THE PLANET TO SAVE IT—the motto of the renewable energy thugs.

  50. “But Taylor Keeney, a spokeswoman for the project, pushed back against the residents’ concerns in a phone interview with Fox News. She provided a copy of a poll commissioned by sPower that found that 67 percent of registered voters in Spotsylvania County are supportive of the solar power plant.”

    Where are these supposed supporters located relative to the solar cell field?

    • Fine! Your choice! You can go with that, but this factory monster SHOULD NOT BE FORCED upon those who will be adjacent to the poisonous monster. Even in third world countries, the mega solar factories are at least a mile away. In Spotsylvania, they say 350 ft. In other words, they do NOT care in the least about the health and welfare of those in the community. It is ALL, 100% about money….money for spower and money for those who take the BRIBES! They say the devil to those who will lose the value of their land that they have been paying to own for MANY years. Shame on anyone who supports this disastrous catastrophic tragedy ALL IN THE NAME OF GREED!

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