A Hershey area company is planning to construct three solar farms in Clearfield County, according to Chris Hazi of the Clearfield County Conservation District.
Hazi, who is a conservation specialist, reported at yesterday’s CCCD board meeting that he has been in contact with the ARM Group that is planning to build solar farms in the area.
Hazi said one of the solar farms is planned for the Penfield area.
Another is planned for Cooper Township in the Grassflat/Drifting area just off of state Route 53 on both sides of Basin Run Road, according to a previous article in The Progress.
Hazi said he doesn’t know where the third solar farm will be located.
“Right now they are still filling out their permits,” Hazi said.
A telephone message left for an ARM Group spokesman was not immediately returned Thursday.
Hazi said ARM Group officials call him every couple of days with questions about the process, because he and Conservation District Technician Fred Berry will be reviewing their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit applications.
He said it appears the company is trying to streamline the process of getting its permits approved.
Hazi said the solar farm in the Penfield area is planned to be on a large tract of land — approximately 200 acres — but the amount of land disturbance would be much less.
The biggest item the conservation district would be looking at is storm water and making sure there isn’t a large change in storm water runoff from the properties, Berry said.
He said storm water shouldn’t be much of a problem for the solar farms once they are constructed because they are predominantly covered with grass, and there would be grass growing underneath the raised solar panels.
Additionally, companies usually choose land that is already flat, therefore they usually don’t have to do much grading work.
The biggest issue with erosion and storm water runoff for the sites would be during construction; for example, if they have to level any of the land, construct access roads, power lines, out buildings, parking lots, etc., Berry said.
CCCD would make sure the company has the proper systems in place to make sure there aren’t any problems with storm water or erosion, both during and after construction is completed, Berry said.
“It’s a good resource,” Hazi said of the solar farms. “It’s clean energy and hopefully it will help some people out there.”