Friday, May 27, 2011

Solar park

These things are interesting, but they're going to attain the same "must protest" status that wind farms currently have in Maine.

And the impacts are comparable, within the same order of magnitude: A very visible installation "ruins" the view. This 36 acre example provides 26,000 MWh/year, compared to about 4,000-5,000 for a GE 1.5 XLE turbine on a Maine hilltop, so this is about a five-turbine farm.

The turbine needs about a three acre footprint and between 1,000 and 2,000 foot setbacks to achieve noise standards (45 dBA minimally -- and also depending on tower height and wind shear, speed and directions), and we tend to put them in numbers of at least three, so the solar park has a smaller footprint within which residential use is hampered.

The solar system is still intermittent but delivers peaking load. Turbines these days tend to be used for base load, now we're figuring out how to use them.

They say they're planning to graze under the panels, but I'd say the grass is going to grow less because of the blocked sun.

Some grazing farm animals like a bit of shade, though. My sheep generally enjoy shade.

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