Solar farm comes under the glare of Coolspring Twp. residents – Allied News

3 minutes, 6 seconds Read

COOLSPRING TOWNSHIP – The contractor building a solar farm promised residents Monday that his company plans to be a community asset.

“We really want to be good neighbors,’’ David Hommrich, president of Sunrise Energy, told the audience of around 50 gathered at the township building.

Green Tree-based Sunrise is constructing the solar farm on 20 acres it’s leasing along Miller School Road close to Lake Latonka, a housing development that partially sits in Coolspring Township.

There were a couple of raised voices among the audience in comments and questions – but nothing beyond that. Nobody in the audience publicly said they were in favor of the solar farm.

Residents’ concerns included ongoing construction methods, prospects of their property values taking a hit and chemicals that might be on site.

“My (water) well is 48 feet from your property line,’’ Kim Thomas, who along with husband Rich were among the attendees said. “I have my grandkids to think about.’’

Hommrich responded that no hazardous chemicals would be leeching into her property and the solar farm, which sends electricity directly into the power grid, will not have any batteries on site. He added he would talk with the couple immediately following the meeting about possibly monitoring their well.

A couple people questioned whether herbicides would be used to keep the grass at bay on the property. Hommrich said it sounded like a good idea to avoid using herbicides.

Another resident recommended placing that provision in the township’s newly created regulations governing solar farms.

After the meeting, Dale Bestwick, a township supervisor attending the meeting, said the request will be given serious consideration.

Grass on the property will regularly be mowed, Hommrich said.

“I’m not saying it will be like a golf course,’’ he said. “But you’ll never have to complain about the grass.’’

Whenever the solar farm closes for good, the company is required to return the land back to its original farm condition, Hommrich said. Under township regulations, the company must post a bond, which will be held by the township if it fails to comply, he added.

“It’s a farm field when we came, it’s a farm field when we leave,’’ he said.

Several residents complained silt socks weren’t in place during construction. Silt socks are fabric tubes usually filled with wood chips or compost that are placed around a property to reduce runoff of water and dirt.

“It’s up now,’’ Hommrich said. “But you’re right, they weren’t up when they were supposed to be.’’

One resident said the company chose the site because it was cheaper land than a brownfield or industrial property where he thought solar farms should be housed.

Thomas responded the company does an analysis of where best to settle these projects.

Others expressed concerns about noise from the solar panels. Hommrich responded that during the day the panels will emit a humming sound at a volume of about 40 decibels, roughly the sound of a refrigerator, and quieter than normal conversation (60 decibels) and a vacuum cleaner (70 decibels).

“Since they don’t collect sunlight at night there won’t be any noise,’’ he said.

A fence will surround the property and bushes, trees or shrubs will be planted to obscure the view, Hommrich said.

After the two-hour meeting, Hommrich said about 7,800 solar panels will be erected on the property. The project is expected to be completed in September or October, much later than Sunrise had hoped for, he said.

Thomas said she was unsure of the project’s outcome.

“I feel a little better – a little bit better,’’ she said.

Not so for Alyssa Hile, whose parents and grandmother, live near the planned solar farm.

“I don’t feel any better about this,’’ Hile said.

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

Similar Posts