MINIMAL IMPACT

Land 

Recent advances in racking technology allow solar systems to be installed on up to a 15-degree slope, eliminating the need to flatten existing topography like other large development projects.

Air 

The site will produce no dust or smoke during operations. Ground cover will mitigate dust during wind events or maintenance visits. No smoke or other air pollutants are produced as a byproduct of solar energy generation. Once construction is complete, the solar facility is passive, imposing no impacts on the neighbors and producing no pollutants or other emissions.

Water 

State and regional regulations regulate water flow/runoff during both construction and operations. Prior to construction, the following two processes will govern the Project’s water management:

1. Southside Soil and Water Conservation District will review, approve, and oversee the Project soil and erosion control plan;

2. Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will review the Project’s stormwater management. Both agencies will issue permits with stipulated conditions that will mitigate any potential water management issues during both construction and operations.

No water is required for solar facility operation. Occasionally, minimal water use may be necessary to control dust during construction or for panel washing 1-2 times per year. A study by Harvard Kennedy School finds that solar facilities are one of the least water-intensive methods of electricity generation.

Noise

Unlike other power generation facilities, solar facilities use no moving parts and therefore minimal noise coming only from inverters and the utility-owned substation transformers. The inverters produce a low-level hum, roughly equivalent to a dishwasher and only during daylight hours while the system is generating energy. At night, there will be zero noise coming from the site. Inverters are placed back from the perimeter of the property line to ensure little to no noise at the fence line.

Light 

Solar facilities do not require any lighting during normal operations. Any security lighting is specifically designed to face inward and downward and is not detectable across viewsheds. Solar panels, designed to absorb as much light as possible, do not produce any hazardous glare and refract less light than typical metal roofing.

Cultural Resources 

If field surveys discover state designated cultural resources, Virginia requires that the facility avoid the area or mitigate. The state’s permitting process may compel the developer to provide vegetation or other screening or conduct archaeological data recovery.

Project Decommissioning 

At the end of a solar facility’s life, all panels and equipment are removed from the site—with many components that are able to be recycled—in accordance with state and local government permits and landowner agreements. The site is completely cleared and restored for its original use. The solar facility prepares a detailed decommissioning plan based on final engineering, which details the decommissioning process, provides cost estimates by certified engineer, and stipulates the financial security. This plan is presented to the county for review before construction begins. Prior to construction, the developer will provide Charlotte County financial security guaranteeing decommissioning and restoration throughout the life of the project.