On June 23, a severe storm featuring baseball-sized hail wreaked havoc on a solar farm in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. The 5.2-megawatt solar farm, which helps to power Kearney, Scottsbluff, and Venango, sustained heavy damage, with aerial photos showing significant damage to most of the facility’s 14,000 solar panels.
Officials with GenPro Energy Solutions, who co-developed the solar farm with Sol Systems, stressed that at first glance only the solar panels appeared to be damaged, though the other infrastructure on the site had yet to be fully assessed.
But aren’t the solar panels, which convert the sun’s rays into electricity, the main thing?
Authorities are still assessing the damage, but for now the solar farm is not operating. The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), which works with SunWise, the community solar program that operates the solar farm, has not commented on when, or if, the farm might begin operations again.
“NPPD is currently working with the solar developer that owns and operates the project,” NPPD spokesperson Grant Otten told Fox News. “The developer is assessing the damage and determining next steps and a timeline for equipment repairs or replacement.”
Scottsbluff City Manager Kevin Spencer commented that the solar farm appeared to be “destroyed.”
“The solar complex was destroyed by hail,” said Spencer. “They’re assessing the damage, but it certainly looks destroyed to me.”
Despite the hiccup of having vital power generation destroyed by an act of God, Spencer had not soured on solar power.
“I don’t think we’re ready to give up on solar power,” he said. “It was our understanding that these solar panels were at least hail resistant. This hail was extreme, you know, the size and probably the speed of it. So, I don’t know that we would give up on it just yet.”
GenPro Energy Solutions CEO Dwight Patterson was on hand along with insurance adjusters to assess the damage. One early estimate placed the damage at over $1 million.
“Severe weather, like the storm that struck Scottsbluff, is a good example of why renewable energy providers and local electric utilities benefit from strong partnerships,” Patterson told Fox News. “Forces that are sometimes out of our control could impact critical electric power delivery to homes, hospitals and critical infrastructure.”
“We believe in an all-of-the-above approach to energy production in the U.S. as the best path forward, with smart collaboration with all energy providers and an eye on emerging technologies that will lead to resilient, secure and efficient electricity for everyone,” Patterson added.
The apparent destruction of the solar farm in Nebraska reminds us of just how fragile so-called renewable energy sources are. Of course, we’ve learned that lesson before.
In Texas in February of 2021, wind turbines froze and were unable to turn, ironically during a windy winter storm, which led to widespread power outages. Hundreds died as heating systems stopped working in the bitter winter cold.
Hopefully, that “all-of-the-above” approach mentioned by Patterson will continue to include fossil fuels, which are clearly the only option currently for reliable energy, as renewables have proven time and time again that they’re not up to the task — nowhere near up to the task.
But, if you remember the words of our president, who said on the campaign trail, “I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuels,” you could be forgiven for believing that a future without fossil fuels is what is coveted most by climate alarmists — no matter the cost in human lives.