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Eldorado Solar Project

Frequently Asked Questions

Energy buyers, including utilities, retail consumers and commercial businesses, are increasingly demanding carbon-free power for environmental as well as economic reasons. The price of solar panels and related equipment has dropped significantly over the past 15 years at the same time policies, like renewable portfolio standards, require a percentage of power come from renewables.

We are committed to open and transparent relationships with landowners. We have a standard lease that provides the same terms to all landowners within the project footprint. Participation in the project is voluntary.

We enter into voluntary land leases with landowners for the useful life of the solar farm. The land’s existing uses vary and include agricultural applications. The land, rested and restored, is returned to the landowner at the conclusion of the 35-year project life, at which time it can returned to farmland or other previous use.

Solar is a drought-resistant cash crop that will continue to benefit the county year in and year out, creating a reliable cash flow in what can be a very volatile market. Landowners typically find it is more economical to use their land for solar than for farming.

In addition, participating in the project allows landowners the flexibility to keep land in their family for future generations to farm.

There are a number of factors that influence property values and the housing market, and no credible studies have shown an association between the presence of an operating solar field and negative long-term impact on the value of adjacent properties. Various reviews of solar fields and neighboring property values and home sales have confirmed there is no long-term impact.

Operating solar fields have minimal impact on the surrounding area: no sound outside the fence line; no odor or emissions; no tall towers or equipment (solar panels typically sit 12 feet or less from the ground); and no increase in local traffic.

There are no proven health risks from solar fields, and solar panels are commonly installed on homes and schools.

In fact, solar fields are known for having a positive benefit on air quality. Solar fields generate clean, renewable power with zero air emissions and often replace older and less-efficient fossil fuel-based sources of power with significant air emissions. A study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that this corresponds to a lower risk of respiratory issues and heart attacks.

Solar panels do not produce sound, but the inverters that change the current of electricity from DC to AC do produce a slight hum that is not audible past the property boundaries. Solar projects are considered quiet neighbors.

For optimal power generation, solar panels are designed to absorb sunlight, not reflect it. Glint/glare studies can be performed to assess potential impact. Further, it is common for airports to install solar arrays for power generation, without experiencing glare issues.

Solar farms have an expected 35-year life, much of which is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. Solar panels can continue to produce energy past their warranty, though efficiencies may decrease. Once the panels are no longer efficient, the solar farm will be dismantled, upgraded or repowered, depending on terms of the land agreement, power needs and other market forces.

Solar panels do not consist of any liquids; therefore, if one were to be damaged, there would be no risk of contaminants spilling on the ground. Furthermore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s established tests demonstrate that solar modules do not leach toxins into the environment.

We have environmental experts conducting an environmental analysis to understand any impacts on wildlife. Solar projects have been known to provide habitat for birds and pollinators like bees and butterflies from project landscaping and ground cover.

Local and state jurisdictions often require studies to be performed to assess the impact to certain species of wildlife, such as rare, threatened, or endangered species study. Other impacts are assessed in an environmental site assessment.

We intend to put a vegetation management plan in place that relies, to the extent possible, on local flora that potentially maintains the current vegetation and is pollinator friendly. There are vegetation options that include herbivore-friendly species such as alfalfa (depending on local restrictions).

Our vegetation management plan will include weed/vegetation control, primarily through mowing. Weed control is critical to solar projects as weeds can impede maintenance access and cause reduced generation from shading. There are vegetation options that include herbivore-friendly species such as alfalfa (depending on local restrictions).

An engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor will be hired. The EPC contractor performs design, completes engineering and manages construction of the plant. The EPC contractor also awards construction materials contracts and subcontracts for certain portions of the work. We encourage our EPC contractors to use local contractors and vendors when possible.

Solar installation jobs require education and/or experience in solar, electrical, renewable energy, engineering technology or construction-related fields. There may also be certification exams available like the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. We will be relying on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, who is not yet hired, to determine training and hiring requirements. We are open to working with local colleges and vocational programs to share information and possible opportunities.

Prior to the start of construction, we will work with state and county agencies (as appropriate) to develop a detailed plan of the expected transportation routes, the number of trucks and maximum truck weights. The plan will also document the existing condition of the roadways. Any wear and tear on local roads will be repaired at the expense of the solar project.

Generally, solar projects contract with experienced solar O&M (operations and maintenance) providers who then hire local employees with backgrounds as technicians and electricians or similar expertise. Additionally, local companies are periodically retained to provide support services consisting mainly of vegetation management but may also include occasional janitorial or snow removal services.

It is standard practice to have a decommissioning plan and cost estimate prior to the start of construction. In some cases, a letter of credit or bond is put in place to ensure the availability of future decommissioning costs.

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