Letter – Solar expansion fatally flawed

Published 6:38 pm Monday, November 21, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Pine Gate made fatal flaws in its Ho-Fel Solar Facility pitch to both the Isle of Wight County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. The BOS rightfully tabled the project.

Pine Gate struggled in defending its flaws, which are poor performance predictors if Pine Gates gets into Isle of Wight. Pine Gates’ initial flaw is that the 2019 BOS Ho-Fel approval was for 55 Nameplate MW, whereas the 2022 application to IW Planning states the 40 Nameplate MW as being previously approved. 40 Nameplate MW was never approved for Ho-Fel. In fact it is a hidden reduction in Nameplate MW and consequent reduction in machinery and tool taxes and land use taxes. Also, Pine Gate was not too familiar with its own agreements with the PJM Business Authority.

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Pine Gates’ second flaw is its continued talk of “new technology” of sun tracking not being available in the initial 2019 BOS approval. Well, the 2019 proposal included sun tracking. Also, referencing the U.S. DOE, EIA, 860 Form, 2020: Starting from 2001 through 2018 the United States had 1,009 sun tracking out of the 3,515 utility scale solar facilities. Isle of Wight’s Woodland did go into operation with a sun tracking system in 2016. Additionally, bifacial solar panels are not new and have been in existence as 72 cell panels being the size of a door of approximate 2 meters for over 10 years. This is not “new technology”!

President Joe Biden enacted the Defense Production Act to get more solar panels made in the USA. Pine Gate will buy Asian panels, not China or USA. China “dumps” its panels through other Asian countries to sell to the USA.


David Tucker