Fiction: The solar panels are highly visible from neighboring properties because of tree clearing.
FACT: We are making every effort to reduce the visibility of our solar farm, including a new reduction to acreage covered.
Our solar farm designs reduce the visibility of solar panels from neighboring properties and streets. For each site, we create a Visual Impact Assessment which creates a plan to address the visibility using an evergreen vegetative buffer and strategically placing panels to minimize visibility.
Fiction: Solar panels leak chemicals and can contaminate my well.
FACT: There are no harmful chemicals in the panels, wire coating or electrical infrastructure that can dissolve into and contaminate water.
Solar panels do not contain any liquid and are not capable of leaking anything into the ground. A common misconception is that all solar panels contain liquids, however, only solar water heaters contain liquids, which are not used in this solar farm.
In fact, solar energy emits no air pollution, unlike some types of conventional energy generation technology. Solar panels don’t produce carbon emissions that cause acid rain or greenhouse gases. From January to June 2020, solar energy avoided more than 96 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. Since the energy harnessed by solar photovoltaics comes directly from the sun, no water is used to generate the electricity, unlike other forms of energy generation technology.
Fiction: Clearing trees to build a solar farm for sustainability is counterintuitive.
FACT: A 5-MW Solar Farm will reduce CO2 emissions equal to the carbon sequestered by 7,940 acres of local forests in one year.
The solar farm reduces CO2 levels using green energy versus energy created by greenhouse-gas emitting sources. This fact and many other equivalencies can be found online by using the ‘Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies’ calculator posted to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website. (https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator)
In fact, according to the National Society of Professional Engineers, it takes between six months and two years for a solar panel to produce all the energy used during its lifecycle, depending on the location, solar irradiance and technology. Furthermore, no additional fuels are required to generate electricity once the panels are installed: that sets this type of technology apart from conventional forms of energy generation. Solar farms generate emissions-free energy, use minimal amounts of water and have a far lower carbon impact than conventional fossil fuel sources. As electrification transforms more industries, such as transportation and manufacturing, the residual carbon footprint of solar power will shrink even further. Solar panels are designed to last 25 years or longer, and many of the first solar systems installed over 40 years ago are still operating today.
Fiction: Solar farms negatively impact wildlife in the area.
FACT: The solar farm is not detrimental to the quality of life of animals in the area.
All construction activities are coordinated with the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation to ensure we do not disrupt migratory patterns nor nesting periods. Since our facility is unmanned and quiet following construction, it is more welcoming to wildlife than other types of development. The fencing used is elevated several inches to allow for the passage of small animals and we use local pollinator-friendly seeds in the disturbed area to create an environment hospitable to pollinators.
In fact, our solar farms help preserve and create a habitable environment for all animals. By avoiding toxic fossil fuel emissions, solar energy promotes clean air and water for wildlife. Solar energy has been endorsed by leading environmental and wildlife groups, and we diligently study wildlife patterns to design projects which minimize potential impacts. We work with researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to create habitats under our panels for pollinators and other insects which benefit native grasses, flowering forbs, legumes and the surrounding ecosystem. Additionally, laws and regulations in the US pertaining to solar plants’ environmental standards are some of the strictest in the world. Each project undergoes rigorous federal, state and local regulatory examination for natural resources and habitat conservation.
Fiction: The solar farm is a fire hazard and a danger to our community
FACT: The solar farm meets required local, state and utility codes and is inspected and tested by National Grid.
Our solar farm design is reviewed by a State certified electrical engineer and also by your Town’s local electrical inspector who also inspects the installation of the solar farm throughout construction. Additionally, the interconnecting utility company requires us to perform third party witness testing prior to the solar farm interconnecting. Lastly, the local fire department also reviews the design of the system to ensure Emergency access, in the event it’s required. According to the only study completed on this topic, the incidence of fire occurring at solar farms is 0.006% (Germany).
Fiction: The solar panels create a dangerous glare for airlines and drivers in the area.
FACT: The solar panels used do not create a dangerous glare.
As part of the approval process, our solar farm location is reviewed and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. The solar panels used have an anti-glare coating to ensure they cannot cause interference with aircraft nor with automobile operation.
Fiction: There is no financial benefit for the town to allow this solar farm to exist.
FACT: The Host Town generates more tax revenue from this property as a solar farm than if it is used agriculturally.
Because of the agricultural exemptions currently in place on most farming property, the Town of Pompey currently collects minimal town taxes for this property. Once the solar farm is installed, the agricultural exemption will be dissolved and the Town and School Districts will be able to collect significantly more revenue from taxes.
Fiction: The solar farm is loud and causes noise disturbance.
FACT: A solar farm is a quiet neighbor.
The only parts of the solar farm that make any sound are the inverters and transformers. They are always located as far from property lines and nearby residences as possible. The inverters and transformers are no louder than a washing machine or normal conversation and will be muffled by the vegetative buffer.
Fiction: The amount of tree clearing done for this project will cause erosion and make our flood problem worse.
FACT: We are following State guidelines that require no negative impact from construction activities while clearing a solar site.
Site clearing is carried out in small sections in step with installation of the stormwater mitigation construction per the State guidelines to eliminate any negative impacts of such clearing.
Fiction: The solar farm will be built and then will fall into disrepair and the area will be abandoned.
FACT: We are purchasing the land, making us long-term members of the community and invested in the future of the site.
We do not make any money if our solar farm is not working properly and generating electricity, so we make certain that it is properly constructed, properly maintained and fully-functioning at all times. Once we acquire this site, we will be tax-paying landowners…just like you! But unlike you, we are posting a cash bond, adjusted for inflation, to be held by the town to ensure that the solar farm will not never be abandoned and to ensure that the Town will have the means to fully decommission it, if necessary.
Fiction: Property values decrease dramatically when near solar farms.
FACT: Home values in the immediate surrounding area have been found to be reduced by only 1.5%.
Based on a 2023 study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab of 1.8 million homes, property values within .5 mile of a solar farm were shown to decrease by only 1.5% compared to houses 1 mile away which don’t see any change in property value (that’s a reduction of $7,500 for a $500,0000 home)…and this is only for solar farms that are visible to those homes. The solar farms that we propose are hidden by the site contours and by the trees on the property plus an additional evergreen buffer, rendering the solar farm invisible to adjacent homes.
Fiction: Allowing this project to go through will set the precedent that all solar farms will be approved and the town will become overrun with them.
FACT: The utility infrastructure owned by the utility company that services the Town is limited in the amount of capacity able to be added to the grid.
The threat that the town is being overrun by solar farms is false because of the lack of utility infrastructure available to add solar farms to the utility grid and/or the cost to upgrade that infrastructure. Additionally, all solar farm proposals MUST meet the guidelines set out by the Town in its own solar codes, as approved by the Town.
Fiction: Once decommissioned, the solar panels end up in a landfill, negating any positive impact they had.
FACT: More than 90% of the components making up solar systems are recyclable today.
The three primary materials that make up solar panels are glass, silicon and metal. Due to solar energy being a relatively new industry, protocols for recycling materials are still being developed. The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Laboratory (NREL) found that recycled materials can meet 30-50% of solar manufacturing needs in the U.S. by 2040 with additional recycling options being added all the time.