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  • 1.  Local commercial solar array insights.

    Posted 03-07-2022 11:48 AM
    I recently went to a township meeting regarding a multi mega-watt proposed solar field, 3 to 4 miles down the road from me. It is a farmland agricultural zoned piece of land, approx. 150 acres. This was the second meeting on the proposal (I missed the first). What I am cutting and pasting here for you is the Letter To The Editor of our "local rag" regarding my insights from my attendance. If I were to "rate it" like one might rate a film, I might be inclined to call it a dark comedy of the pathetic variety. I had a 600 word limit for this letter. For your enjoyment:

    Solar Meeting Fiasco!

     

    03/03/2020 Meeting Breakdown:

     

    1. The total ill-preparedness of the council representing the project.
    2. The incredible mis-understandings and inaccuracies (Lack of REAL knowledge) about Solar energy systems in the attending "towns" people.
    3. The mis-representations, nonsense and "paper tigers" by the projects opposing council (Seated).

     

    I was not allowed to speak despite many decades of experience with solar energy systems. I live in North Centre which butts up to Scott Twp., but only "Scott people" were allowed comment. I did not know this in advance despite talking with Brittney in-between meetings for project details.

     

    Regarding #1, the way a commercial sized solar system SHOULD BE documented for presentation, is the recently APPROVED Central Columbia School Districts ~2 MW system. All the documentation is available on the CCSD website under SOLAR. This is how it is done for a successful conclusion. People can be informed, rather than listening to an evening's worth of legal Gordian knots.

     

    Regarding #2, I could go on forever on this, but alas ~600 words. Spanning Putin's Ukrainian atrocities being renewable energy's fault (Actually continued Fossil Fuel use), to flaming birds and noise coming from a solar panel (Really dead quiet, the panel not the bird), toxic chemicals and soil contamination from washing the panels, you DON'T WASH panels, except maybe in desert locations which excludes the Eastern/Middle USA, water runoff exacerbation, TOXIC Liberals, on and on. From an educational perspective, I SO WISH I could have spoken to the people at the meeting (The parties that REALLY matter), because I could have HELPED them SO much in understanding solar systems and there REAL impact, forming opinions on facts rather than fantasy, resulting in good decisions (Excluding Politics PLEASE!).

     

    Regarding #3, from an hydrological engineering perspective, surface water congregation occurs in three ways. 1. Natural land topography and its ground composition. 2. Man alters ground surface making it non porous (Concrete, asphalt, compacted subbase) or "water faster" lawns and channels the rain, so the water cannot reach the rains intended surface for normal absorption. 3. Rain intensity and frequency. Counsel tried to make the case for using the 20% coverage zoning rule regarding land area, obfuscating and twisting the concept of coverage, comparing buildings, barns, sheds, etc., to apply to a 'narrow wide spaced rows' solar project which creates shading not coverage, resulting in no REAL water concentration or penetration blockage. The land surface area rendered non porous and unavailable for direct rain penetration, is the cross sectional area of the mounting posts for the collectors. In short less than .5%, like a long fence.  The Solar system proposed is rows of wide open solar panels, much like rows of beach umbrellas. No sane person would go out in the rain with spaced rows of beach umbrellas, approx. 30 feet apart, held 10 feet in the air and claim their feet or the sand won't get wet in the wind and rain from direct rain fall. In short, rain will affect the "fields" water hydrology the same with our without wide spaced solar rows. Instead put up a 30,000-100,000 sqft slab on grade barn, warehouse, lawned housing development, altering the ground surface. THEN you will have a water issue outcome. Duel land use wide spaced solar arrays with low height crops is practiced for increased crop shade, fatiguing under Global Warming. It lowers the temp allowing them to thrive once again, providing massive amounts of energy in the process. It's called agricultural WIN, WIN! Then morph the project into community solar bureaucratic format, cutting electric bills for wanna-bee subscribers. My 3 minutes are gone.

     

    William H Fitch III



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    william fitch
    Owner
    www.WeAreSolar.com
    fcfcfc@ptd.net
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  • 2.  RE: Local commercial solar array insights.

    ASES Life Member
    Posted 03-08-2022 11:48 AM
    Good one, Bill.  Keep us informed on the project - hopefully your letter makes a difference.

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    Mike Curran
    Retired from (dare I say it?) Fossil Plant Mgt.
    joacchim57@gmail.com
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  • 3.  RE: Local commercial solar array insights.

    Posted 03-08-2022 12:34 PM
    Edited by william fitch 03-12-2022 05:34 AM
    It might if they end up publishing it. Fingers X. It is kind of a conservative rag...
    Update 3/12/2022: As of this date the paper did not run the letter. Usually if they run, it is within 2 or 3 day of submission. It could still happen, bit I don't think so. I have this letter out on-line at:
    https://fcfcfcwearesolar.blogspot.com/2022/03/solar-meeting-fiasco.html

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    william fitch
    Owner
    www.WeAreSolar.com
    fcfcfc@ptd.net
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  • 4.  RE: Local commercial solar array insights.

    Posted 03-08-2022 05:48 PM
    Uggh, I feel your frustration Bill. Is there an opportunity for you to schedule an information session independently and invite residents from the area to educate them on solar, costs, benefits, dispel the misinformation, etc?  I used to do presentations at local libraries before Covid and some libraries do a good job of getting the word out on their website, in local newspaper, etc.

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    Ken Nadsady
    AviSun Renewable Energy
    Hudson OH
    Knadsady@avisun.net
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  • 5.  RE: Local commercial solar array insights.

    Posted 03-09-2022 10:42 AM
    Edited by william fitch 03-10-2022 01:28 AM
    Hi: Way back in the early 90's, I used to do that for Solar Thermal, when PV was still cost prohibitive. I don't know if there are any available venues that would contribute their location. That on top of the FFI and the RED party polarizing the RE movement, it might end up being just another format of "preaching to the choir" who are not the objectors. The newspaper posting it as a community service is unknown as well. Again VERY RED area. I will try to investigate, but to be honest, I don't see it making any difference with out the opposing people present, as they were for the twp. meeting. They would have had to hear then. Thanks though....

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    william fitch
    Owner
    www.WeAreSolar.com
    fcfcfc@ptd.net
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  • 6.  RE: Local commercial solar array insights.

    Posted 03-13-2022 12:14 AM
    Bill, I feel your pain and frustration.  So much is wrong with this permitting process as you have described it, in technical terms attempting to refute the utterly silly objections.  I'll not go into my usual rant against ignorance and tribalism - not today anyway.  I will say that I appreciate the reporting and the efforts to get it right.  Good Luck...

    --
    Dennis Garde, AIA, LEED AP
    Turkey mobile +90.505.186.27.85
    O&M Transition Coordinator, Ankara, Turkey
    US mobile: +1.847.624.1983
    210 W. Hall Street Apt. A, Savannah, GA 31401
    Formerly Facility Manager, US State Department
    google: +1.312.772.3720







  • 7.  RE: Local commercial solar array insights.

    Posted 03-14-2022 02:13 PM
    I agree that solar arrays won't affect how much water gets into the soil (maybe more, because the sun would not be heating up the soil and evaporating it.  However, if this was the proposed project in the northeast corner of Texas, near Texarkana, that land is Texas's LAST native tall grass prairie land.  That kind of land needs to be conserved and not messed with.

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    Henry Stinson
    henrystinson@yahoo.com
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  • 8.  RE: Local commercial solar array insights.

    Posted 03-17-2022 09:50 AM
    Well, we are a few miles from Texas. One of the BIG problems in PA is the Natural Gas lobbyists have all the RED party legislators "locked" up, which is what is preventing two house bills from passing into law. These bills would allow community solar to occur in PA, giving local reward for subscribers to "purchase" power from these arrays, reducing their electric bills. Not seeing any available benefit for the NIMBY's who butt these proposed arrays, is a big "fueler" to their objections.

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    william fitch
    Owner
    www.WeAreSolar.com
    fcfcfc@ptd.net
    ------------------------------