Erosion and Sediment Control
30 Minute Presentation
"An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure" - Solar Array Development in New England
Large commercial solar projects are becoming an increasingly popular form of developing new renewable energy worldwide. These developments are often construed as “low impact” or permitted as “limited disturbance”. Often solar sites lack the proper planning or necessary Best Management Practices to prevent stormwater pollution issues. This session will look at the positives and negatives of solar developments as they relate to site compliance, stabilization and stormwater pollution on sites in New England.
New England has experienced a high volume of solar developments in the last 5 years. It is desirable to develop new solar projects onto previously developed locations such as paved parking lots, sanitary landfills, contaminated properties, or industrial sites such as airports, gravel pits, quarries and former factory sites. While these locations are a good use for renewable energy facilities, they can create construction challenges compounded by a diverse climate. With constantly changing weather, and the increase in extreme weather events, New England can experience all four seasons in a month. From periods of drought that limit the vegetation establishment to snow melt/runoff from freeze/thaw conditions that can create inefficient infiltration. Weather and time of year restrictions can be difficult to manage and can lead to pollution and compliance issues.
Attendees of this technical session will be exposed to a variety of solar development sites on different land types ranging from former golf courses to existing farm fields. They will learn about numerous construction issues including:
• Design challenges
• Time of year phasing & sequencing
• Compliance requirements
• BMP choices to accommodate inconsistent NE weather
• Strategies for short & long term stabilization
• The importance of construction oversight
• Importance of proper SWPPP Development
This session will focus on BMP selection with an emphasis on necessary construction/compliance oversight. Examples of proper and improper BMP use will be highlighted to convey technologically accurate and industry relevant content. Attendees will be able to take ideas and strategies back to their projects for implementation. Positive examples include using material generated at the site from land clearing operations (wood chips, stump grindings) for temporary stabilization, tracking pads for vehicles between arrays and as a supplement to perimeter control. Negatives will include improper sequencing resulting in offsite pollution.
Case studies will demonstrate and provide attendees with a better understanding of the planning considerations, construction challenges and collaborations with regulators to ensure stabilization, and ultimately, compliance. This session is designed to be interactive with the exchange of ideas encouraged and to create a dialogue of experiences dealing with solar field development.