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Michelle

East Coast solar project generates fury

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Michelle

Whose bright idea was this? Yes, it is being reported on their local news but they don't show the actual impact.

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.”

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.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/massive-east-coast-solar-project-generates-fury-from-neighbors-in-virginia

 

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Sir Wearer of Hats

They cut down trees for this? 

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Farmer77

Headline : People in rural Virginia oppose alternative energies .....in other "breaking" news water is wet and dog has been declared man's best friend :lol:

 

Edited by Farmer77
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Piney
8 hours ago, Michelle said:

Whose bright idea was this? Yes, it is being reported on their local news but they don't show the actual impact.

Why don't they use existing former crop fields? You can still space out the panels. It's not like China is buying soybeans anymore and most crop profits are written off losses.

 

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Agent0range
1 hour ago, Imaginarynumber1 said:

The town in PA that has been smoldering for a decade

Centralia!  Not too far from me.  Little known fact- The video game "Silent Hill" got it's inspiration from Centralia.

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Jon the frog
1 hour ago, Piney said:

Why don't they use existing former crop fields? You can still space out the panels. It's not like China is buying soybeans anymore and most crop profits are written off losses.

 

you can grow mushroom in the shade anyway...

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DarkHunter
1 hour ago, Jon the frog said:

you can grow mushroom in the shade anyway...

Not going to be able to grow mushrooms in the shade, solar panels get hot on average ranging from 59F to 95F but can get to about 150F or hotter.  Mushrooms cant really grow above 74F.  

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Michelle

Y'all don't get it I see. Who would combat climate change by cutting down 3,500 acres of trees?!?!  Idiots!

4 hours ago, Piney said:

Why don't they use existing former crop fields? You can still space out the panels.

There are plenty of old cow pastures too. But they are being used for more and more housing which can be sold for $400,000 each.

Edited by Michelle
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travelnjones

There are spots in the southwest that seem a better fit.  I think the Gila monsters would appreciate the shade

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DarkHunter
22 minutes ago, travelnjones said:

There are spots in the southwest that seem a better fit.  I think the Gila monsters would appreciate the shade

Problem with the south west is the heat, once solar panels start getting around 90F or so they start having increasing efficiency drop offs, the whole the higher the temperature the more electrical resistance in a material.  Given the ambient temperature/conditions the solar panels in the south west would be in they would probably be closer to 150F.

There has been work done on making solar panels better at tolerating higher heat but they tend to be significantly more expensive then regular solar panels and they still have efficiency drop off just not as bad.

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travelnjones

Hmm i have heard talk of using heat itself and a sterling engine to generate power.  Seemed like there was a plant that directed heat to a tower with mirrors.

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DarkHunter
1 hour ago, travelnjones said:

Hmm i have heard talk of using heat itself and a sterling engine to generate power.  Seemed like there was a plant that directed heat to a tower with mirrors.

There is but that's a different kind of solar power.  The tower with a bunch of mirrors is solar thermal while the panels is solar photovoltaic. Solar thermal works pretty well and has some significant advantages over solar photovoltaic but it has a few problems also.

As for the sterling engine that is a whole different set of problems.

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Dark_Grey

From the article:

Quote

Keeney denied the project would alter the character of the area, saying those who visit the battlefields wouldn’t know there were solar panels nearby. “The project will be completely hidden from view from the road,” she said, “You won’t be able to see it.”

...removing over 6300 acres of trees won't alter the "character" of the area? 

Quote

Still, the project’s future remains uncertain: its application goes before the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 26. The county’s planning commission in January voted to deny two of the three proposed sites, only recommending a special use permit for 245 acres. But the Board of Supervisors does not have to abide by the planning commission’s recommendations.

...but they already cleared 6300 acres. If the project is not approved, will they put the trees back? The 7 landowners have yet to actually sell the land to the company and the project has yet to be officially approved yet all that land has been cleared anyway. Are they jumping the gun a little bit here?

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Michelle
3 minutes ago, Dark_Grey said:

...but they already cleared 6300 acres. If the project is not approved, will they put the trees back? The 7 landowners have yet to actually sell the land to the company and the project has yet to be officially approved yet all that land has been cleared anyway. Are they jumping the gun a little bit here?

The natural habitat of numerous animal species has already been destroyed.

These people are just like the ones who bring invasive plants and animals into the US to solve whatever problem they want to resolve. They don't think about future consequences.

Like the "save the trees" campaign in the 70's. They wanted to do away with paper grocery bags for "eco-friendly" plastic. Now look where we are.

I can't believe so called environmentalists are cheering this on, with all of the land available that is already without trees.

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Dark_Grey
26 minutes ago, Michelle said:

The natural habitat of numerous animal species has already been destroyed.

These people are just like the ones who bring invasive plants and animals into the US to solve whatever problem they want to resolve. They don't think about future consequences.

Like the "save the trees" campaign in the 70's. They wanted to do away with paper grocery bags for "eco-friendly" plastic. Now look where we are.

I can't believe so called environmentalists are cheering this on, with all of the land available that is already without trees.

What did they offer these landowners they got them the green light to start bull dozing?

"Hi there! I know our project hasn't officially been approved but would mind if we just knock down a few of your trees real quick? Four or five hundred acres should be plenty. Just drop off the land owner agreement at our head office when you can. Thanks!"

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Gromdor

It's just the spread of the human race is all.  My state has 30,900,000 acres that we turned into corn and soybean fields.  Believe it or not agriculture and ranching beat urbanization for animal endangerment and extinction as well as water use:https://www.westernwatersheds.org/watmess/watmess_2002/2002html_summer/article6.htm

Digging up a few thousand acres for a solar farm is actually pretty mild.  Best way to save the trees is to stop having babies but then our labor force and economy will start to stagnate.

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Dark_Grey
3 minutes ago, Gromdor said:

It's just the spread of the human race is all.  My state has 30,900,000 acres that we turned into corn and soybean fields.  Believe it or not agriculture and ranching beat urbanization for animal endangerment and extinction as well as water use:https://www.westernwatersheds.org/watmess/watmess_2002/2002html_summer/article6.htm

Digging up a few thousand acres for a solar farm is actually pretty mild.  Best way to save the trees is to stop having babies but then our labor force and economy will start to stagnate.

If you look at the populated areas on a US landmap, it seems underpopulated. Immigration is key to sustaining the labor force now which also points to a lower population. Overpopulation is a meme as it's really only an issue in the developing world - here in the developed world, we throw out more resources than we know what to do with. Education levels correspond with birth rates, etc. You know how the math works there. 

Back to the OP, how much of VA's energy is expected to be supplied by this solar farm? With most of these bull rush solar projects, it's more about greasing contractor palms and returning favors behind the scenes than saving the planet. It always is with politicians.

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Gromdor
2 minutes ago, Dark_Grey said:

If you look at the populated areas on a US landmap, it seems underpopulated. Immigration is key to sustaining the labor force now which also points to a lower population. Overpopulation is a meme as it's really only an issue in the developing world - here in the developed world, we throw out more resources than we know what to do with. Education levels correspond with birth rates, etc. You know how the math works there. 

Back to the OP, how much of VA's energy is expected to be supplied by this solar farm? With most of these bull rush solar projects, it's more about greasing contractor palms and returning favors behind the scenes than saving the planet. It always is with politicians.

It's 500 Megawatts.  The US averages about 164 homes per megawatt so 82,000 homes.

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Dark_Grey
Just now, Gromdor said:

It's 500 Megawatts.  The US averages about 164 homes per megawatt so 82,000 homes.

I'm glad you posted that. I was looking for numbers on average US household/Mw usage and found wildly different estimates. 164 homes seems to be the most conservative. 

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third_eye

Now where did I put that number for that doomsday asteroid ....

~

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DarkHunter
1 hour ago, Gromdor said:

It's 500 Megawatts.  The US averages about 164 homes per megawatt so 82,000 homes.

That estimate is a bit of an over estimation.

The capacity is 500 MW but the only way to get around 82,000 homes us to assume a similar capacity factor as a solar farm in southern California which isnt realistic as Virginia has significantly less solar potential then southern California.

Using information from the Woodbridge solar array you can calculate a capacity factor of about 14.4%, in comparison the capacity factor of solar farms in southern California is around 26%.

Assuming a similar capacity factor of the Woodbridge solar array then the total energy generation would be about 613.2 GWh a year.  Given that the average Virgina household uses about 1,117 kWh a month or about 0.0134 GWh a year which means the solar farm in question would probably generate power for about 46,000 homes.

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Jon the frog
7 hours ago, DarkHunter said:

Not going to be able to grow mushrooms in the shade, solar panels get hot on average ranging from 59F to 95F but can get to about 150F or hotter.  Mushrooms cant really grow above 74F.  

Not on the solar panel.... in the shade they produce, still colder than in plain sun. But you need to control the water input that will be disturbed by the solar panel. But you can easily raise sheep or other ruminant to keep the grass down and do two production on the same plot.

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Gromdor
2 hours ago, DarkHunter said:

That estimate is a bit of an over estimation.

The capacity is 500 MW but the only way to get around 82,000 homes us to assume a similar capacity factor as a solar farm in southern California which isnt realistic as Virginia has significantly less solar potential then southern California.

Using information from the Woodbridge solar array you can calculate a capacity factor of about 14.4%, in comparison the capacity factor of solar farms in southern California is around 26%.

Assuming a similar capacity factor of the Woodbridge solar array then the total energy generation would be about 613.2 GWh a year.  Given that the average Virgina household uses about 1,117 kWh a month or about 0.0134 GWh a year which means the solar farm in question would probably generate power for about 46,000 homes.

Quite possibly.  I just ran with the numbers the company provided on their unbuilt solar farm.  Businesses tend to exaggerate the jobs and services they provide.  

On a side note, I googles the Woodbridge array and came up with IKEA building solar arrays for their stores.  Kinda neat to find out a furniture chain was putting up solar panels at their various locations across the US. 

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DarkHunter
4 hours ago, Jon the frog said:

Not on the solar panel.... in the shade they produce, still colder than in plain sun. But you need to control the water input that will be disturbed by the solar panel. But you can easily raise sheep or other ruminant to keep the grass down and do two production on the same plot.

The solar panels themselves do get hot.  First just think about it logically for a moment, on average about 1 kW per meter reaches the earths surface from the sun.  A solar panel converts about 15% to 30% of that to electricity, reflects some small amount of it back away from the earth, but turns most of that energy to waste heat.  If one accounts for the amount turned to electricity and reflected away a solar panel will have a similar albedo effect as black asphalt, which tends to get rather hot in direct sunlight.

But to further prove my point without having to go into too much science, to be more exact thermodynamics there are these.

"Panels that are fixed parallel to the roof with little to no airflow between the rooftop and panel are the least efficient and experience the greatest rise in temperature (35°C). A typical rack-type installation will allow for a gap of greater than 150mm between the roof surface and the panel, allowing airflow to have a cooling effect on the panel. This type of installation is more efficient than an installation fixed parallel to the roof and typically leads to a 30°C rise in panel temperature. However, the best scenario is where the solar panel is pole-mounted in a free-standing frame (25°C)."

https://solarcalculator.com.au/solar-panel-temperature/

"Generally speaking, solar panels are 20°C (36℉) warmer than the ambient temperature. For example, the ambient temperature in the desert can reach 113℉, which this means solar panels in this climate can reach 149℉. While this would be uncomfortable to touch it is unlikely to give you any serious burns. A more valid concern is touching the metal frame of the panel."

https://www.solar-estimate.org/news/2019-01-22-how-hot-do-solar-panels-get-and-how-does-it-affect-my-system

There are more obviously online with different degrees of how in depth they get with the science, I went with ones that were less science heavy cause I dont like thermodynamics, but ultimately solar panels themselves do get hot and heat up the immediate area.

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DarkHunter
3 hours ago, Gromdor said:

Quite possibly.  I just ran with the numbers the company provided on their unbuilt solar farm.  Businesses tend to exaggerate the jobs and services they provide.  

On a side note, I googles the Woodbridge array and came up with IKEA building solar arrays for their stores.  Kinda neat to find out a furniture chain was putting up solar panels at their various locations across the US. 

Companies do have a habit of running with best case figures but there are a lot of variables involved and not a lot of easily available good data to do quick calculations, there is good data but it's in a form that would add more steps and I'm lazy but the actual number is somewhere in the mid to upper mid tens of thousands of houses.  To be super technical to actually determine if the solar farm is worth it or not would require looking at the local areas solar potential over a year and looking at the local hourly household energy usage over a year but that is a ton of work.

Solar panels definitely have their place in energy generation and for stores, even homes in some cases, can have significant benefits but there are severe limitations that do limit their effectiveness on massive country wide scale.  Then again I always preferred solar thermal over solar photovoltaic so I'm biased.

 

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