Good Neighbor Policy
We at Axio Power intend to be long-term, good neighbors and therefore hope to work closely with you as we refine our project. Below is more information about the main components of solar farms, including some specifics about the Cascade Solar project. We are always interested in your feedback and are available should you have any questions or concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions
Construction and operation of a solar farm inevitably changes the landscape and use of the property. However, solar PV is one of the least intrusive and “cleanest” forms of power generation available. These advantages are listed below in response to many of the frequently asked questions and common concerns raised around operation of a solar project and potential impact to local communities.
The Cascade Solar farm proposed by Axio Power will be have rows of PV panels mounted on a steel or aluminum frames supported by approximately 3-foot poles (piles) driven into the ground. The array is expected to be configured using two types of panel mounting systems:
“Fixed-tilt” mounting system: this design is comprised of rows of solar panels which are permanently fixed at approximately 25-30 degree tilt facing south in order to receive the maximum available solar energy (see Figure 1). The maximum height of the panels range from 8 to 12 feet (see Figure 2). This configuration contains zero moving parts. The individual solar panels are comprised of a PV layer sandwiched and sealed between 2 flat plates of glass. The panels have a life span of 30-40 years, and carry a 25 year warranty. There is no off-gassing or potential for leaching of toxic substances.
“Single-axis tracking” mounting system: in this design, rows are oriented north-south and the panels are attached to a drive arm that will move the panels a fraction of a degree every 15 minutes so as to track the sun from sunrise to sunset (see Figure 3). This slight movement will continuously orient each row of panels perpendicular to the sun to optimize energy capture. While moving slightly throughout the day, these systems do not produce any perceptible noise. The maximum height of the panels is lower than fixed-tilt panels—typically around 6 feet. Similar to the fixed-tilt mounting system, there is no off-gassing or potential for leaching of toxic substances.
In addition to each row of PV panels, inverters will be placed throughout the array to collect the electricity generated and convert it from Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC) power so it is suitable to be fed into the electricity distribution system for consumption by homes and businesses in the local community.
While the solar PV arrays will cover the majority of the site , the panels have a maximum height of no greater than 12 feet, but are mostly no taller than 8 feet and are generally unobtrusive on the landscape or visual field. Single story, single family homes generally are 15 feet or taller. Relative to the visual impact of other forms of conventional power generation and renewable energy, such as wind turbines or fossil fuel based power plants, impact of PV arrays is greatly reduced. For example, wind turbines have moving blades atop towers in excess of 300 feet and fossil-fuel plants, depending on the fuel type (e.g., coal, natural gas or oil) can be dozens of feet tall depending on the height of cooling towers.
Solar PV panels are specifically engineered to absorb light rather than reflect it because reflected light results in lost energy output. Panels are dark in color and include an absorptive coating that enables the panels to absorb as much of the available light spectrum as possible, which directly increases the energy production from each panel. In general, solar PV panels are half as reflective as standard glass used in residential or commercial applications. In addition, the solar PV panels proposed on the Cascade Solar site will have an anti-reflective coating, which makes reflectivity and glare significantly less than water surfaces. Solar PV arrays have been approved and constructed on the grounds of airport facilities, which are most sensitive to reflectivity issues. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved these projects in the area of airports, which has validated that panel reflectivity/glare is negligible.
Noise levels from solar PV arrays are negligible because the array has very few moving parts. The proposed solar PV array will either be “fixed-tilt”, where each panel row is fixed in place on a steel frame, or built on a single drive arm that moves the panel a fraction of a degree every 15 minutes to enable the panel rows to follow the path of the sun from east to west throughout the course of the day. The only sound from the system worth describing resonates from the power conditioning equipment and electrical transformers. This equipment provides a “humming sound” at very low levels, no greater than the transformers dispersed throughout a residential neighborhood that “transform” higher voltage power from transmission and distribution lines to lower voltages safe for use in homes and businesses. This equipment will be stored throughout several blocks of panels in the middle of the site, amidst the array, rather than sited on the periphery in closer proximity to adjacent properties. Furthermore, the limited noise emitted from the equipment may be dampened by enclosures built around the equipment.
No, solar PV panels do not require water to convert sunlight to electricity. No water would be required as part of Cascade Solar’s operations except for a maximum of twice per year and sometimes less for the washing of solar panels.
Although the panels would be warm to the touch, they would not noticeably affect the temperature of the surrounding area; temperatures below the panels would be nearly the same as ambient temperatures in the ordinary shade.
The cost of solar PV technology has fallen rapidly over the past decade and the PV industry has made great strides in improving the technology over its 50 year lifespan. At the same, the price of conventional power generation (coal, gas, hydro, and nuclear) has grown more expensive. These factors, coupled with regulatory initiatives requiring utilities to procure a portion of their electricity from renewable resources have led to increased interest and demand for solar power from utilities.
Solar electricity is renewable and virtually inexhaustible. There is as much solar energy hitting the earth in one hour as the energy we use on earth in one year. It is also clean, emits no greenhouse gases, can displace fossil fuel generation and generated at peak times, when it is needed most.
Significant benefits will be derived locally during the project construction, which will extend approximately 9 months. Materials, supplies, and labor will be sourced locally where possible (i.e. mechanical, electrical, and civil contractors). At peak construction periods at Cascade Solar there will be approximately 90 workers and skilled trades on-site. During the operations and maintenance phase of the project – which typically extends approximately 30 years – a handful of operations & maintenance jobs will also be created.
Coordination with Neighbors – It is Axio Power’s top priority to reach out to our neighbors and work with them regarding any questions or concerns they may have regarding solar farms.
Axio Power is committed to engaging the local community early in the planning process to take all reasonable measures that will diminish any potential impacts, as described above. Bringing a large scale solar project from concept to fruition requires significant commitment on the part of the developer to engage and collaborate with local communities to gain acceptance for a solar project. Throughout this process, we will engage the local community early and often to address any perceived issues around construction and operation of a project. A solar farm has a lifespan in excess of 20 years, and we recognize that we need to be fully engaged and responsive to community input.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Cascade Solar project manager anytime for more information about the project. We look forward to hearing from you!
1-714-549-1944 ext. 201