Concerns raised about solar plant construction project in Pct. 2


Around 150 citizens in Van Zandt County Pct. 2 packed the Whitton Community Center Dec. 17 to receive information and ask questions about a solar plant construction project located between the Whitton and Jackson communities.

According to information released by a citizens organizational group founded by VZC Pct. 2 citizen David Dunagan known as Save Van Zandt County, residents living between Whitton and Jackson discovered that a German and Romanian group has leased 964 acres stretching 2.5 miles between the two communities to install an industrial size solar generation plant.

The mission of Save Van Zandt County is to stop the project before construction begins, educate other Texas citizens and work to enact laws to prevent the destruction of land for this purpose, according to Dunagen.

The Save Van Zandt County founder said that the project is being developed by GSE Eleven LLC, a company created on paper at a law firm in Frisco, Texas.

The three managing members are Alpin Sun GmbH in Germany, Alpin Solar SA in Romania and Micu Bogdan Marian, a Romanian citizen, according to Save Van Zandt County.

The project is expected to cost $140 million with construction starting in January 2019 and full production by May 2020, according to the citizens group.

Among the concerns expressed at the Dec. 17 meeting in Whitton involved the construction which includes heavy machinery and pile driving 52,000 pylons into the ground for 400,000 solar panels.

Save Van Zandt County said that the project is expected to damage surrounding roads, area structure foundations and water wells in the immediate area of the project.

The citizens group also claims that runoff from the construction area into area creeks and the aquifer will harm wildlife and the Wilcox Aquifer. The wildlife affected would include resident bald eagles, deer and hawks.

Concerns about the economic impact were also presented as the citizens group said that VZC will be negatively impacted by a loss in tax revenue from depreciated property values and because of the minimal long- term employment, there will not be any revenue from labor.

According to Save Van Zandt County, there are also no guarantees the project will remain viable for the full 30 years estimated and no documentation stating the owners will reclaim the land after the project concludes, leaving the county to do the cleanup.