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Please read the questions asked by other members to see if it helps in your discernment

Q:  Does the church really need the money to operate?

A:  Given that we have been and are a strong congregation serving our Gloucester community and beyond in many wonderful ways, we do not believe we need the potential additional after-tax income of about $35,000 from the Solar project to survive.  All our budgets for many years have had some level of a “faith window,”  and we have cured those initial shortfalls.  We do have some areas where we are deferring maintenance because of lack of funding. As our vision for ministries expands we will also find good uses for additional resources. To have the property with which we have been blessed produce additional income to assist us be good stewards by maintaining our historic church’s buildings and grounds now and in the future, and by supporting and growing our outreach and service missions to our local and world communities in an environmentally responsible way, would be a positive result.

Q:  What is TGE planning to do with the panels when they need to be replaced?

A:  They will recycle as much as possible.  The 90% likelihood is that the panels  will use crystalized silicon (c-Si) technology, produced from sand, which can be repurposed cleanly.  If cadmium telluride (CdTe) panels are utilized, a 10% chance, there is even more incentive to repurpose that more difficult to source material.  These panels have also been found to be very safe by many studies, including Virginia Tech’s assessment in support of Governor Northam’s legislative agenda phasing out fossil fuels and supporting solar energy production.

Q:  I understand we will not see the panels from the church- How about from Featherbed Lane?

A:  We have provided for a 25’ buffer along Featherbed Lane, which is the same as  the buffer the Congregation previously established for the timbering that has been done along Rt. 17 and Featherbed Lane.

Q:  How much money are we getting from TGE?

A:  As set forth in more detail in the  Background for Lease of Land for a Solar Power Production Facility which is on Abingdon’s website, on the order of $35,000 per year after tax, totaling $1,576,800 after tax for the 45 year term of the lease.  While this is an accurate estimate, it is important to note that the lease contains an annual increase of 2% and reimbursement for the increased property tax we might have due to the use of the land.

Q:  Is the land worth more than TGE is paying for it?

A:  We are not selling our land, but are leasing it for the rental amounts stated in the prior Answer.  Abingdon will own the land throughout the term of the lease and thereafter.  We don’t know the cost per acre of land for our 76 acres, though we have had 2 estimates given, both in the range of $2,000 to $3,000 per acre. If this is the case, it would value the parcel at $156,000 to $228,000.

Q:  When will they start the project?

A:  TGE would like to start the project as soon as possible they have received  Army Corps approval as to as to wetlands and received approval from the Gloucester Board of Supervisors of their application for a Conditional Use Permit.  They can’t start those processes until they have determined the land for which they seek approval and we are one of the last properties to decide on leasing their land for this project. 

Q:  How much energy will they make on days like Tuesday when it is cloudy and rainy?

A:  We do not know the megawatt (MW) production on cloudy days, however TGE is monitoring a nearby property to determine production to be achieved over a period of time under all conditions.  The panels produce energy even on cloudy or rainy days from both direct light which does get through and ambient light reflected from the ground.

Q: I have seen conflicting information.  Is the project location entirely east of the church?  Or does it include the tract north of the church which was recently harvested?  

The logged tract north of the parish house is not included. 

Q: I did not see a discussion in the CNU report regarding "the C02 balance"  in replanting trees after the old are harvested versus placing solar panels. What is the "C02 balance" over decades of a forest which takes in C02 vs decades of those acres substituted with solar panels to cut fossil fuel use?

Here is a useful article from Duke University that answers that question.  It looks like solar edges out forest on C02 balance because it reduces the amount of carbon produced during power generation.