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Re: Gigafactories

The strangest thing about the engineering.com article by Tom Lombardo is that Lombardo feels obliged to defend what used to be called an "artist's impression" of the factory (even going to the trouble of counting the number of wind turbines in the picture). The thing he's defending isn't a formal engineering drawing, I think it would be accepted by the majority of people that whatever eventually gets built might look completely different to the picture.

One problem I can see with the picture straight away is that this factory is supposedly going to employ 6500 people, so you might expect to see a pretty big car park near the factory on the picture which isn't there.

I can see a couple of problems with the proposed renewable energy arrangements given on the picture. Firstly wind turbines are I believe recommended to be 6 to 10 rotor diameters apart, whereas in the picture they are not much more than one rotor diameter apart. So I think the wind farm array would in reality be occupying much more land area than is indicated.

The second problem is with the use of rooftop-mounted solar panels, The factory will have an enhanced fire and explosion risk relative to an average factory, as it is making extensive use of a hazardous material, lithium. The problem with rooftop solar panels is that firefighters don't like them because of the potential electric shock hazard, and it may cause them to do their job less vigilantly, as explained in this article:

link

In a situation like this I would expect that the fire insurers, or fire safety people in general, would prefer that the solar panels are kept off the roof as there appears to be ample space in the land area around the factory to locate the panels. Ground-mounted solar panels might be easier to keep clean as well, including removal of the snow cover that JMW has pointed out.