Solar Energy

Facing Resistance, Large-Scale Solar Installations Search for 'Creative' Locations

Mar 09, 2022 7:21AM

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Facing Resistance, Large-Scale Solar Installations Search for 'Creative' Locations (nbcnews.com)

Posted by EditorDavid on Monday March 07, 2022 @07:34AM from the not-in-my-backyard dept.

NBC News reports that energy analysts "still expect most solar energy production in the near future to come from utility-scale projects, in part because of the savings that comes with massive installations."

Unfortunately, "It's those projects that are facing pushback." Local governments in states such as California, Indiana, Maine, New York and Virginia have imposed moratoriums on large-scale solar farms, as a national push for cleaner energy has collided with complaints about how the projects affect wildlife and scenic views. In one Nevada town west of Las Vegas, residents are trying to block a proposed 2,300-acre solar field. NBC News counted 57 cities, towns and counties across the country where residents have proposed solar moratoriums since the start of 2021, according to local news reports, and not every proposed ban gets local news coverage. At least 40 of those approved the measures. Other localities did so in earlier years.

That resistance is a threat to the big ambitions of the solar energy movement.

The current workaround? Solar panel installations "in unexpected places..." [Walmart] told NBC News it has more than 550 renewable energy projects, including solar and wind, implemented or under development. Several have opened recently in California, including with parking lot canopies. The company has a goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, up from 36 percent by its estimate now....

Houston has chosen the 240-acre site of a former landfill to install what the city said will be the largest infill solar project in the nation. In a neighborhood named Sunnyside, the project will generate enough electricity for 5,000 homes, according to the city. Similar projects have been built on landfills throughout New Jersey. An energy firm is building a solar project on a former coal mine on the border of Kentucky and West Virginia, while in New York state, researchers at Cornell University are testing putting solar panels in a field where sheep graze.

A city in Northern California says it has the largest floating solar farm in the U.S. at its wastewater treatment plant, and in January, a China-based energy company said it had built the world's largest floating solar array on a reservoir there. And last year, the Biden administration encouraged the development of solar projects on highway right-of-way, with a notice from the Federal Highway Administration telling field offices to work with states on ideas. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, including Webber, have said most states have more than 200 miles of interstate frontage suitable for solar development, especially near exits and rest stops.

Creative locations have a particular benefit: fewer potential neighbors who might complain.

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