These days it is all about solar. Last week, while researching my neighborhood news I came across an article about a community solar farm in our area. I find solar farms hideous, unsightly, and not as good as people claim these to be. For the landowner, it means good rental income for the next 30 years, for the rest of the people, just plain ugly. The article claims that the project will be a small solar farm, concealed by vegetation and remotely operated, no onsite engineers. Let’s hope so. The article claims that Dominion Energy customers will benefit from it, lowering their energy bills. I am not a customer, and we are serviced by a cooperative in the neighborhood, but it might be affiliated somehow. I feel sorry for the neighbors who will have to look at it. It will be located next door to the MVP, another hideous project, halted twice and still in the courts, that will bring no meaningful benefit to our community. I dislike when pretty little towns want to become like big cities, bad fit. Solar farms are popping up all over Virginia. Our little town has approved about 8 or so lately. I saw an interview (on another town) where a poor woman was almost in tears because her home was surrounded in all four sides by acres of solar panels, and she happened to be in the middle, no buffers between her property line and the solar panels, and she demonstrated how she could stretch her hand from her property line and almost touch the panels; these were that close. Once she was surrounded by farmland, and beautiful vegetation, which gave way to this nightmare. Imagine, who would ever want to buy her home? There are many stories of property owners being affected by this. I admit that I did not know much about the topic, so I decided to do a bit of research to educate myself; after all, we will have a small one on almost 57 acres of land nearby. The owners, not local people, but out of state people, who bought the land. Recently, about last week, another 58 acres came up for sale next to it, and these were scooped up right away; I hope not by the same owners.
After researching a bit, it seems to me that solar farms are not as green as these might appear. The panels last about 30 years and during that time, the metals and materials used during manufacturing degrade and end up on the soil or water sources, contaminating these, and posing a risk, if not properly monitored. After 30 years, the solar company is supposed to dispose safely of these panels and clean up the land. Solar panels require a lot of cooling off thus requiring a significant amount of water. We all have wells around here and are very happy with our wells. I hope we do not have to convert to water lines/sewer because we do not welcome the extra expense, and you know how expensive your water bill is. A few weeks ago, I saw a survey company marking utilities in the area. I asked one of the workers, “what are you doing and why?” He truly did not know the answer. He said that he only worked for the survey company and did not know any more information. They were marking utilities as far as route 29, which worries me a bit. As I write this post, I can see the orange and blue markers at a distance, orange is for communication lines… and blue is for water lines.
In addition, the mirrors in the solar panels cause injury to birds, burning their feathers. So much for green energy – soil and water contaminants, which leaves the land not good for future crops, large water requirements to cool down and operate the solar farm, acres of flora destroyed, fauna injuries … In a nearby town, Amazon is planning to set up a Mega Solar Farm, one of the largest. The happy landowners will certainly benefit from it, maybe the next 30 years. Let’s abandon agriculture in the name of solar energy, it surely will taste good in a possible famine. As you might be able to tell, I am not a fan.
Something for you to learn about. I was very happy when the land where this community solar farm will be located changed zoning from R-1 (residential 1) to A-1 (agricultural). For me, it meant more farm use and less dwellings. Little did I know that this change meant that the land use is just one step away now to become industrial zoning. But what do I know? I rather have a stinking cow farm next door than an apartment building, a factory, or a solar farm, so I might not be the best judge or advocate; I’m bias. Well, at least solar farms are quiet, and if properly concealed, I might not even notice it. That is until the future tells a different story on health hazards. Right now, according to WHO – World Health Organization – (and who trust them these days?) there is not sufficient scientific data that solar farms affect health in any way. There is some information on people who suffer from electro sensitivity, which means that the radiation that devices/signals such as Wi-Fi, 5G … emit affect these people severely, even might shorten their lifespan, but nothing concrete.
I even question if it is wise or safe to have a solar farm next to a gas pipeline, but that’s me. Our little town proudly displays a sign that reads “Bird Sanctuary.”
Welcome home solar farms, welcome home.