Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 18

Published May 14 2018
Updated May 14 2018

Re: Pasco panel okays Tampa Electric solar farm after five-hour meeting | April 9 story

Solar farm offers many positives

There has been much publicity regarding the proposed TECO Mountain View solar project slated for 350 acres in East Pasco that was recently granted a special-use exception by the Pasco County Planning Commission. The proposed project compares favorably to other realistic alternative uses of the land as outlined below:

Economic Benefits:

• Expanded tax base with no investment required by Pasco County.

• No strain on infrastructure, which would be stressed if developed for residential use.

• No investment in schools, roads or public services is needed.

• Mitigates the risk associated with a volatile real estate market collapse and the effects of foreclosed or financially underwater homes have on surrounding property values.

• TECO will be the owner of the entire property and project, unlike having potentially hundreds of individual property owners having to maintain the condition of their properties through varying economic conditions.

Environmental Benefits:

• Approximately 30 percent of the 350 acres involved with the project will be preserved from development. This area includes most of the trees on the property and will continue to serve as a vital habitat for wildlife.

• Aside from irrigation needed to establish the landscaping buffer, there will be no water used on the project. This could potentially save more than 50 million gallons of water per year compared to residential development.

• TECO is planting a 25-foot buffer more than 3 miles long. After establishment, the project’s panels will be shielded from view from most, as well as for those traveling Blanton Road.

• There are no lights associated with the project, except for the planned substation at the top of Frazee Hill, meaning that 97 percent of the property will be free from any nighttime light pollution.

• TECO has modified its plans and will only fence the portion of the project containing panels, leaving a large portion of the property as is.

Given these reasons — as well as the need to provide clean, renewable energy in a state that continues to add hundreds of thousands of people per year — many area landowners and residents, myself included, support the proposed Mountain View Solar Project.

Jeff Phillips, Dade City