Solar projects typically operate for 35 to 40 years. After the productive life of the panels and the expiration of the leases, the solar project will be “decommissioned” and the land returned to its current condition.
Montour Solar One
A typical solar project is designed to withstand storm events that create strong wind, rain and hail. If a storm damaged the solar farm, the project would respond swiftly to ensure the public is not at risk.
The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has conducted a number of studies which demonstrated that the noise levels generated by inverters and tracking motors are not audible above ambient noise at the fence line of the facility. Solar panels themselves are 100% silent.
Assessments performed in neighboring states have found little to no change in property values related to solar facilities. We do not believe that property values will be significantly negatively impacted by this project and we are working to minimize the visual impact of the project for property owners adjacent to the site.
Solar is a drought resistant crop that farmers can choose to install for income stability for their family and to support later generations. At the end of the project’s life (35+ years], the project is decommissioned, equipment is removed, and the land returned to its prior state. If leased, the site returns to its owner.
As is typical with most construction projects, the process will begin with preparing the site- clearing brush, some tree clearing, minimal grading, and surveying and staking. After this, work will focus on building the supports that will hold the panels, and other system infrastructure. Once this is complete, solar panels will be delivered and mounted. During this phase, the contractor will also be trenching the electrical systems throughout the photovoltaic (PV) array, leading back to the project substation. The array will then be electrically connected and the testing phase will occur. When testing Is successfully completed, the system is then brought online electrically in phases with additional quality control checks. Once all tests are complete and signed off by required parties, the system will begin supplying clean, renewable energy to the grid.
Overall the construction of the project is expected to take approximately 12 months.
Environmental / Aesthetic
Solar panels are typically mounted about 4-5 feet off the ground and have a maximum height of approximately 7-10 feet. Panels will be set back from roads and residences and utilize non-reflecting glass. So, although the project may be visible from adjacent and nearby roads, the overall visual impact will be minimized.
Solar panels do not discharge hazardous materials into the soil, air or water under normal operating conditions.
The Montour Solar One Project is designed to minimize adverse impacts to local watersheds in accordance with PA DEP and local requirements. A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that regulates erosion, sedimentation and stormwater associated with the project’s construction activities will be obtained prior to construction.
The solar project poses a very low risk to birds from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.
The solar project site will only require minimal grading and topsoil removal will be avoided to the maximum extent possible. We are anticipating that the largest impact to the land will be the installation and mounting of the solar modules (groups of panels).
Depending on the weather during construction, timber mats might be needed to avoid vehicles getting stuck in the mud or otherwise rutting the soil after a rain event. After construction, the timber mats, if needed, will be removed and the areas impacted will be smooth and reseeded.
Our solar contractors often utilize a special technology that does not require the use of a concrete foundation, further minimizing the impact to the land. Upon expiration of the lease term, the solar installation will be dismantled and removed, and Pattern Energy will restore the land to its original condition in compliance with the terms of the project plan.
No. The installation affects only the top 10 feet of soil and will not result in any extreme vibrations in the soil. Therefore, damage to home foundations, water wells, underground piping, or other improvements is neither expected nor likely. Pattern Energy and its contractor will work with nearby homeowners to mitigate disruption during construction activities.
Technology, Materials, and Safety
A solar Installation Is comprised of solar panels mounted on posts with tracking systems that allow the panels to tilt to adjust to follow the changing directions of the sun. Installations will also have a substation which helps facilitate the transmission of power to the grid.
Solar projects use conventional solar panels just like those installed on the roofs of homes and businesses. The technology is proven and has been around for decades.
At a basic level, solar panels include glass, metal, solar cells, glue and an electrical junction box. If you are interested in the detailed composition, we can provide more details from module manufacturers.
When sunlight reaches a solar panel, the electrons in the solar panel’s semiconductor material become energized and create an electric current.
Solar panels are durable and designed to last for 35 to 40 years. However, from time to time panels may stop working. Because the project depends on the electricity each panel produces, broken panels will be replaced in very short order. Panel operation will be managed remotely which allows for continuous panel condition monitoring.
Concrete will be used at the project substation, to be used as an equipment pad for the main transformer and as the foundation for the substation control building. The site for the PV array may include limited areas of concrete depending on final design.
While there will be lighting positioned around the project, most will not be used regularly, minimizing disruption to nearby properties.
All electrical and electronic devices create electromagnetic fields, but the amount emitted by a solar project to the public is less than a typical household fixture. For example, a typical household fixture such as a fluorescent lightbulb can generate about 50 V/m at a distance of one foot. At a distance of 1 inch from the power cord for an operating personal computer, 40 V/m are detected. A study conducted by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center at three utility scale sites, revealed that electric field levels along the fenced PV array boundary, and at locations set back 50 to 150 feet from the boundary, were not elevated above background levels (< 5 V/m). Electric fields near the inverters were also not elevated above background levels (< 5 V/m).
Fencing will be Installed around the perimeter and signs will be posted to keep the area secure.