The solar powered landscape
Bill Hocker | Jul 19, 2018
NVR 7/18/18: Proposed utility solar farm in Napa's Coombsville neighborhood becomes a hot topic
As previously said, time for a solar array ordinance.
NVR LTE 7/16/18: Solar project is not right for Coombsville
NVR LTE 7/13/18: Wrong site for solar project
NVR 7/11/18: Two proposed Napa County solar projects would power 2,000 homes
It is appropriate to ask why a major solar panel installation is being proposed in a rural residential neighborhood and requiring the removal of oak woodlands rather than in the industrial zoned areas of the county, perhaps shading some of the mega parking lots to be built there.
Solar panels may slow down the suicide of the human species but they are not neighborhood or viewshed friendly. Fortunately a review by the planning commission at an as yet unspecified date will give the community a chance to weigh in on this very inappropriate site.
NVR 4/25/18: Gateway to the city of Napa getting stealth solar farm
Exactly the solution needed for the Rector dam corporation yard!
NVR 3/17/18: State wants half-acre solar array along Napa's Silverado Trail
The Trail is already filling up with garish homes and event centers and parking lots and left turn bumps and now the indignity of an industrial power plant.
It's churlish, and un-PC, to bad-mouth solar power. But we should recognize, as solar power provides more and more of our energy, that solar collectors are attractive only in their novelty and their benefit toward prolonging life on earth. In fact they are little different in appearance than a full parking lot.
As every home and business begins to burden the landscape with an array, the landscape will suffer. We see even now the jarring apparition of arrays climbing the hillsides behind homes and wineries, with little thought about their visual impact, but much admiration for the "green" commitment of their owners. And large solar arrays, as with the half acre at Rector, are significant money makers that will further speed their adoption, particularly in areas with a lot of open space - like Napa. It is really time for a solar array ordinance to "mitigate" (I would prefer "eliminate") their visual impacts going forward.
About the Rector array: this is an ideal opportunity to propose a 6-8' berm (a modest bit of earthwork perhaps garnished with vines) at the front of the property to hide both the panels and the corporation yard with its industrial detritus. It could be constructed perhaps with a bit of the 1400 acre feet of silt washed down from the vineyard development in the hills that currently diminishes the capacity of the reservoir. A definite win-win for all.
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