Minimizing Project Impacts

Minimizing Project Impacts

Minimizing Project Impacts

sPower prioritizes meaningful communication with the County and its residents. As sPower works through the permitting process, it will continue to address local concerns. Below is a brief overview of how some of these local concerns are being addressed.

Viewshed

The Project is being designed with the goal of shielding the Project from neighboring properties. This goal will be achieved through a combination of setbacks from property lines, maintaining existing vegetative buffers, installing landscaped berms of sufficient height, and replanting native vegetation. While the SUP applications proposed a minimum 50-foot setback around the entire project perimeter, sPower is working with the County to design greater setbacks where necessary .

Water Use

The primary water use for the Project will be used during construction. After listening to citizens’ concerns, sPower significantly changed the construction and grading design of the project which drastically reduced our anticipated water need compared to the original SUP estimates. sPower has committed to relying solely on municipal water during construction, purchased from the county water utility. Groundwater wells previously drilled on site won’t be used, except for in the extremely unlikely case of a municipal water system failure.

Also, in the SUP application, sPower proposed using a limited amount of water during operations of the Project for panel cleaning. After further analysis, sPower does not anticipate needing water supply beyond natural precipitation to clean the panels. Spotsylvania County receives 42 inches of rain per year, more than enough to satisfy the cleaning needs of the Project’s panels.

Wetlands

sPower has delineated all wetlands located at the Project Site and is coordinating its results with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The Project is being designed to avoid impacts to all wetlands through Resource Protection Area (RPA) buffers. Stormwater and erosion controls will be installed throughout the Project Site to further reduce potential impacts from the Project and have been designed to exceed State and County standards.

Noise

The Project will result in temporary noise impacts during construction, including increased traffic, pile driving, and general construction activities. Pile driving will result in the loudest noise impacts and therefore, sPower has been working with its general contractor to limit the use of pile drivers to the extent possible. Pile driving will be done at the early stage of solar panel installation and can be done in an approximate 50-acre area in two to three days. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that neighboring properties will not experience significant pile driving activities in excess of three days during construction. Prior to pile driving, neighboring properties will be notified of the construction activities in their area. Solar energy facilities generate minimal noise during operations. Primary sources of operational noise would include the inverters and solar tracker system, and would be limited to daytime hours when the Project is generating electricity. Inverters and the solar tracker system would be located far enough from the property line so as not to increase ambient noise at adjacent residences.

Traffic

The area in the vicinity of the Project Site will experience increased traffic levels during the temporary construction phase of the Project. sPower has conducted a Traffic Impact Study for the Project and is working closely with the Virginia Department of Transportation to ensure all traffic impacts are minimized to the extent possible. Any roads damaged during construction will be restored. As the Project is only expected to employ 20-25 operations and maintenance staff, the Project is not expected to increase long-term traffic conditions in the area.

Project Decommissioning

Spotsylvania County requires a Decommissioning Plan be submitted to the County for the Project. The Decommissioning Plan will detail all measures and obligations needed to safely decommission the Project and restore the Project Site. The Project is anticipated to have a 35-year lifespan. Following the life of the Project, a decision will be made to extend the life of the Project or to decommission the Project. If the Project is decommissioned, sPower will be responsible for removal, recycling, and disposal of all solar arrays, inverters, transformers, and other structures associated with the Project. The Project Site will be restored in a manner consistent with land use policies in place at that time and in accordance with Spotsylvania County regulations.

sPower will post a Decommissioning Bond to ensure the availability of funds to cover sPower decommissioning and restoration obligations. The Decommissioning Bond will be reevaluated and adjusted, if necessary, every two (2) years.