Las Vegas Sun

July 30, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Reflecting on solar array’s side effects

The Clark County Commission and the Chinese who are proposing the Laughlin solar facility must consider those of us residing in the tri-state area to be country bumpkins.

The solar factory and solar energy array to be built in Laughlin is sure to proceed not because of jobs but because government wants more tax revenue and California needs more energy. That being said, the government should not be allowed to approve the solar energy array if it would adversely affect the plant’s neighbors by reflecting sunlight, effectively blinding motorists and property owners, including those in Arizona.

Before enormous solar arrays are granted approval, the owners must be required to simulate the reflection that will occur during the year.

In addition, there may be impact to the nearby Bullhead Laughlin International Airport.

We must hold our so-called representatives accountable in their zeal for more tax revenue. Require them to do due diligence by conditioning approval of the plant on mitigating or eliminating objectionable and dangerous reflections by directing them back toward the sun and not into the eyes of drivers and nearby property owners.

This country bumpkin believes the cost of this technology must be factored into the decision for the Chinese to invest in this project and that it wouldn’t be possible to require such mitigation at a later date unless all site approval were conditional on providing a solar reflection simulation and technology so as to prevent blinding reflections.

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  1. On PUBLIC SAFETY: One would think that BEFORE investing and building this massive solar project, that the engineers have already hammered out any mitigating problems and have cleared permits with the FAA and other agencies.

  2. Somehow, I'm not seeing why our letter writer is concerned.

    Everything has some reflectance. Reflectance is called albedo. Desert soil also reflects sunlight and its' albedo and that of solar cells are in the same range. Generally, the more efficient solar panels technologies (which are the most economic over time) have albedo substantially lower than desert. Is there something different about the particular solar cells and panels?

    Second, any reflection would be a function of the tilt of the solar arrays. Is there something about the location and operational plan which would cause reflection into the eyes of pilots of aircraft on approach to or departure from Laughlin Bullhead International?