Largescale Solar Farms Proving Vulnerable, Pose Toxic Hazard To The Environment, Soil

Another solar farm gets wrecked by hailstorm…toxic chemicals now threaten environment

On March 16th, near Needville Texas, thousands of solar panels were destroyed by a powerful hailstorm, causing significant damage to a large 10,000-acre solar farm in the area. It’s tornado season!

The storm brought baseball-sized hail and smashed the solar panels at the Fighting Jays Solar Farm. Though the panels are made of tempered glass, which is designed to shatter safely upon impact, the hail’s size was enough to crack the photovoltaic cells underneath and thus render them useless and possibly environmentally dangerous.

The latest incident once again highlights the vulnerability of solar farms to the weather elements. Last month we reported how in June, 2023, hailstorms in Nebraska destroyed a 14,000-panel 4.375 MW AC solar facility.

Toxic chemicals risk leaking

Not only is the Fighting Jays Solar Farm property damage high, now there’s concern dangerous chemicals could now leak into the ground and contaminate the whole site.

 

Resident Nick Kaminski, who lives near the solar farms, said he “was shocked” is worried about the environmental impact “some highly toxic chemicals” coming from destroyed panels could have.

FOX 26 here reports:

‘I have a family two children and a wife,’ he said. ‘My neighbors have kids and a lot of other residents in the area who are on well water are concerned that the chemicals are now leaking into our water tables.'”

Damages in the tens of millions of dollars

Currently there’s no publicly available damage estimate for the Fighting Jays Solar Farm. However, news reports on the event do provide some hints for how high the costs might be. Similar hail damage to a solar farm in Texas in 2019 resulted in over $75 million in losses. That particular farm had a capacity of 178 megawatts, while the Fighting Jays Solar Farm is even larger at 350 megawatts.

Based on this, it’s likely the damage to the Fighting Jays Solar Farm will run in the tens of millions of dollars.




2 responses to “Largescale Solar Farms Proving Vulnerable, Pose Toxic Hazard To The Environment, Soil”

  1. John Hultquist

    The Fighting Jays Solar Farm coordinates:
    30.7078355, -96.070432

    Using Google Earth Pro and a very generous rectangle,
    the area is less than 3,500 acres, so maybe half that have panels.
    Maybe the leased/owned land is much larger.

    Not that + or – size changes anything.

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