Solar projects represent millions of dollars of investment that provide widespread direct and indirect job creation and economic benefits, including: lease payments to participating landowners, annual revenue payments to local governments that benefit local schools and community services, local jobs both during construction and operations, increased earnings for local vendors and services, and community giving throughout the life of our projects. We strive to find ways to expand benefits for the landowners and communities where we operate. Acting as a good neighbor benefits both the communities where we develop and the long-term success of our facilities.
We are committed to thoughtfully developing facilities with careful consideration of the land and surrounding community, at every stage of the project, from initial siting through decommissioning. A critical step in all of our projects is soliciting feedback to help shape our plans. Through careful site selection, project design, and use of best management practices during construction and operations, our solar facilities are designed to minimize impacts to the natural environment, including wildlife, habitat, and important aquatic resources.
Most of the impacts during construction are temporary and will be restored upon completion of construction. We will work with farmers and ranchers to minimize impact on farming and ranching operations. We will utilize a common technology whereby steel posts are driven directly into the ground. The posts are pulled out at the end of the facility’s useful life, and the land is restored to its original condition.
The project will utilize a “light on land” approach during construction and operations and will encourage native grasses to grow within the project footprint after construction to provide erosion control and limit dirt and dust from settling on the solar panels.
Yes. Solar facilities don’t produce any air emissions or harmful by-products. Additionally, Pattern Energy works exclusively with equipment manufacturers meeting strict Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing and regulations in place to ensure these facilities and materials used are not hazardous to people or the environment.
Although the project may be visible from nearby roads and possibly some residences, the overall visual impact is minimal and can be further minimized with fencing and screening. Solar panels typically have a maximum height of 10-15 feet when upright, include a non-reflecting coating, and will be located back and away from roads and most, if not all residences.
Solar projects are effectively silent. Tracking motors and inverters may produce an ambient hum that is not audible beyond the site boundaries.
Depending on factors such as seasonal conditions and final project size and design, construction of a solar facility takes, on average, one year to complete. During that time, the following activities can be expected:
- Site preparation, vegetative clearing, and grading before infrastructure installation begins
- Building access roads, stormwater management, and driving structural piles
- Racking and panel delivery and mechanical assembly of solar facility infrastructure
- Electrical work to run power from panels to inverters to substation
- Installation of substation and transmission line, as required, for connection to the broader electric grid system
- Site restoration after construction
Once a solar facility is built, the land can be undisturbed for many years, often lending to increased local biodiversity. A long-term maintenance plan will be developed for the facility and the land, which involves keeping the vegetation tidy to keep it from interfering with or shading the panels.
Solar panels produced today will have a useful lifespan of 35 to 40 years. At the end of the project, the installation will be dismantled, removed and recycled. The facility will have a decommissioning plan in place that will include removal of all infrastructure and land restoration.