June 23, 2021

The temps dropped yesterday, and the humidity came down with it as a cold front swept across the southeast.  Between health concerns and weather, I had not been able to get out to fish for the last month and it seemed like this was the perfect day.  I decided to try the stream Melissa and I had come across last month on one of our outings.  The stream was a tail stream of a reservoir about an hour from our house.  When I arrived, the sun was shining and the stream was clear, and even though the water level had dropped, there were still good holes to fish.  I rigged my line with a small (#10) black wooly (due to the sun) with a sow bug drop and added an indicator to let the line drift.  I fished three holes and quickly caught nine hybrid perch.  Then inexplicitly, the water silted from a disturbance upstream.  The bites stopped and I was forced to move on.

I fished the reservoir for another hour but found a way to stay in the shade and out of the sun.  I caught another five fish, but only later realized they were small crappie (really small!).  I decided to call it a day and headed home.   On my way home I came across a construction project that I had ignored on the trip out.  A large open field had been fenced (with barb wired on top) and rows of pipes sticking from the ground.  When I stopped at the site, the warning signs said to be aware of electric current.  The site was still under construction, and I initially thought this was a geothermal field, but the configuration seemed wrong.  I did notice the open field faced west and was in full sun. 

When I showed the picture to Melissa, she mentioned Arkansas had just announced availability of grants for solar farms.  A photovoltaic power station, also known as a solar farm, or solar power plant, is a large-scale photovoltaic system (PV system) designed to capture the sun to supply power into the electricity grid.  These are different than building-mounted units because they supply power at the utility level, rather than to local users.  The sun powered grid is made up of photovoltaic modules that convert the sun directly to electricity.  Most existing large-scale photovoltaic power farms are owned and operated by independent power producers, but the involvement of community and utility-owned projects is increasing.  This was the answer for the odd configuration, the solar panels had yet to be installed.

Thoughts:  To date, almost all PV systems have been supported in part by regulatory incentives such as feed-in tariffs, tax credits, or grants (as in Arkansas).  Another advantage of capturing power from the sun is the capability of multiple uses for the land to systems sit on.  While the best location for a solar park is on barren sites with no other valuable land use, in cultivated areas a significant proportion of the farm can be devoted to growing crops or other biodiversity projects.  Solar energy accounts for 1.6% of total US electricity generation and has ranked first or second in capacity added in the US since 2013.  The power of the sun is renewable, provides multiple uses for the site (including cultivation), and is becoming cost effective.  Once installed, the solar farm has no carbon footprint.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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