Everyone agrees that going green is very important for our ecology and our planet. Solar power is clean, quiet, doesn't smell, and doesn't pollute. However, it takes a lot of land to generate a small amount of electricity given the level of technology that we have today. It's very land intrusive.

Gloucester is primarily a bedroom community where people live here and work somewhere else. Gloucester’s economy is based on tourism and history and the second home industry. I believe that putting an industrial-sized power plant on pristine farmland of this size is not the smart thing to do ---- and would adversely affect the surrounding property values (including Mathews as this project is on a main access artery) and the economy of Gloucester. This project has no tax advantage for Gloucester whatsoever and helps no one ---- except that it makes Gloucester “more ugly”. I started this this social media comment thread to get feedback from other people and their thoughts about this project pro and con.
Here's a question ask your wife or spouse ---- Ask them if they would take three or four hundred thousand of their hard earned money and buy land “directly overlooking and across the street” from 200 acres of solid solar panels? I bet they would tell you no! Then tell them that they would have to spend 30 years paying a mortgage on that money. They wouldn’t do it and now you understand what this project will do to the adjacent property owners and to Gloucester.

We need several solar projects that are less intrusive and smaller. Lots of little projects that are home-based for example like solar water heaters or solar panels installed in the home. How about a 40 acres solar project in Ware Neck where thousands of people can’t see it , and a 40 acres project in Guinea and a 40 acre project in the north of the county? We need to put these projects where people cannot see them. The beauty of Solar is they can be located anywhere.

Lastly, we need to discuss the Tax disadvantages for the county, proper site buffering so it cannot be seen, and who’s going to pay to remove this industrial equipment in 15 to 20 years.

Now let's have your comments please based on facts or a point of view.

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David Weller about 1 month ago

Strata Solar and Dominion Power should pay upfront from equipment removal, hazardous material disposal, and restoring the land.

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Darren McMurray about 1 month ago

Do you have any information or site links as to where I can learn about this topic? Solar is not the only clean alternative and personally solar can be done on an Individual household basis and has no need for government intrusion. You pay someone to hook up your home but you don't pay someone to supply you with free energy. I would like to know where the info comes from, sounds like an interesting read.

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Zac Stein about 1 month ago

http://www.dailypress.com/news/gloucester-county/dp-nws-mid-strata-solar-facility-20170120-story.html

Article posted in Gloucester 411 this week, information on public meetings included at the ends

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David Weller about 1 month ago

Real Estate is hard to sell in Gloucester - an industrial sized power plant will not help anyone!

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David Weller about 1 month ago

Can a picture be posted to this thread?

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Kenny Hogge Sr about 1 month ago

What if someone wanted to build a movie theater where they are contemplating putting the solar farm. Would that be Okay? What about a hotel, or maybe a shopping center? Or should the landowner forever keep it farmland? Landowners should be able to do what they want with their property. I don't want it here because most or all of the materials will come from other countries. If they approve it I sure hope they collect the full five years worth of rollback taxes that will be due once the property is rezoned.

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David Weller about 1 month ago

Kenny Hogge - thanks for your comment. No Back taxes are to be repaid as it is not to be rezoned. No land taxes in future as Solar is exempt. No Business Equipment Taxes to be paid as Solar is exempt. Gloucester does not benefit in any way for this industrial project in a rural community. Gloucester could be liable for cleanup of site, removal of equipment, and disposing of the hazardous material and put the site back to its natural state after the plant has reached its lifespan in 15 years and Strata Corporation goes bankrupt. They should be made to prepay for cleanup.

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Kenny Hogge Sr about 1 month ago

Mr. Weller, forgive me if I am wrong, but I think the only tax that "can be" collected on a solar farm is real estate tax. Now that you mention no rezoning, I believe you may be right because of the ordnance pertaining to solar farms the supervisors enacted several months ago.

Brian Ross, senior program director at the Great Plains Institute and author of a model solar ordinance developed for the Commerce Department is quoted in the following written by Frank Jossi:

"Counties and cities have to be careful when zoning for solar farms because they could potentially take out of production land more valuable as commercial, industrial or residential development, Ross said.

“Cities do not necessarily benefit from the solar garden development from a tax base basis,” he said. “They get far better return on almost any other development that occurs there, either commercial, residential or industrial.”

In a letter Monticello submitted to the PUC, city officials said revenue generation of a solar array would provide only 5 to 12 percent of the revenue it would receive from other development.

That means that Sunrise Energy Ventures would likely pay $240 per acre in property taxes annually compared to the following per acre payments: townhouses, $2,475; warehouses, $3,500; retail establishments, such as a big box merchant, $4,500.

Ross notes that even with lower tax returns, solar farms require little infrastructure or maintenance, offering cities an inexpensive development that can pay for itself.

Nevertheless, he suggests the best option for most communities in locating solar farms is to put them on the worst land.

What communities do not want is a solar farm separating built-up and expanding areas, causing “leapfrog” development and increasing the cost of infrastructure, he says. Since solar farms pay little compared to other developments, those costs will be picked up by other taxpayers and businesses."

Sounds reasonable to me.

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Zac Stein about 1 month ago

Yes pictures can be posted on this thread. Their is a button to load an image but it mess be less than 2 MB and meet certain format requirements

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David Weller about 1 month ago

Huge Virginia solar farm scuttled because Virginia utilities aren’t interested January 9, 2015 by Ivy Main This could have been us. Photo credit U.S. Department of Agriculture This could have been us. Photo credit U.S. Department of Agriculture

A solar array that would have more than doubled Virginia’s solar power will not be built after all, with the developer blaming Dominion Virginia Power and other utilities for their lack of interest in buying the output.

The Winchester Star reports that the 20-megawatt array—100,000 solar panels, capable of powering 20,000 homes—had been planned for 145 acres of agricultural land in Clarke County. A spokesman for the developer, OCI Solar Power, said the company allowed its land option to lapse “due to the lack of long-term solar procurement efforts by Dominion and other VA utilities.”

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Virginia has done little to encourage our utilities to buy solar power, and so for the most part they haven’t. The state’s voluntary renewable energy goal is a sorry dishrag of a law. It can be—and is—met with old, out-of-state hydro plants, trash burning, and wood. And because our utilities have a state-sanctioned monopoly on power sales, customers who want solar power can’t go buy it from someone else.

But if it isn’t surprising for Virginia to lose a big solar opportunity due to utility intransigence, it is stupid. Virginia consumers would love to buy solar energy, local governments would love to have solar farms generating tax revenue, and local businesses would love to create solar jobs. A win-win-win opportunity is being wasted, at a time when lawmakers complain about how hard it is to reduce our carbon emissions.

Even Dominion says it wants utility-scale solar (eventually), but it wants to build its own so it can earn the fat return on equity guaranteed to it by Virginia law. (If the utility buys power from someone else, it can pass along the cost to customers, but it doesn’t earn a profit.)

Last year the General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bill to support solar development, and then failed to fund it. Governor McAuliffe’s energy plan talks a good game on solar, but it’s toothless. We will continue to miss out on opportunities like this one until we have a law that requires Virginia utilities to buy solar, or lets consumers contract for it directly from any willing seller.

Or better yet, both. https://powerforthepeopleva.com/2015/01/09/huge-virginia-solar-farm-scuttled-because-virginia-utilities-arent-interested/

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