Many reasons to reject industrial solar projects, which threaten the countryside

Posted 29 October 2020 at 8:16 am


The heavy promotion of industrial solar electric generating installations and their many claimed “benefits” demand further scrutiny.

Setting aside the misuse of the term “farm” and the anecdotal stories and excessive rhetoric about the benefit to bees, sheep, and such, consider the following:

• Backup Power Needed: Solar power is only available when the sun shines. Where will the power come from when the sun does not shine? Deceptively, we are told about the thousands of households solar installation will power, but no mention ever of the necessity for backup power or its source.

• Load Mismatch: Power demands peak early in the day and late in the afternoon when solar power is limited. At mid-day there may be an excess. Solar power is generated at exactly the wrong time. By what means are those relying on “clean solar” to be supplied with electrical power when it is needed and not available? California has a solution called “Rolling Blackouts.” The recent banning of the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035 only compounds their situation. The term “Rolling Blackouts” has taken on a new meaning.

• Battery Storage: One solution to the intermittent and unreliable nature of solar and wind power is battery storage. Battery storage introduces a host of environmental and safety issues that are being hidden from the public. Lithium-ion batteries are one of the storage devices proposed for use.

Hazardous chemicals are involved, fire hazards exist. There are reasons why devices (laptops and such) are not allowed to be carried in shipped luggage on commercial airlines. Further the automobile industry is currently wrestling with unexplained fires in their electric vehicles that contain lithium-ion batteries. Recalls are in the works. The safety hazard of battery storage is real and local fire companies are not equipped to fight such fires.

• Destruction of Farmland, Forests , Grasslands, Wetlands: Solar power is space hungry. Hundreds of acres of land, populated by thousands of ugly solar panels, are required for any given installation.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets considers the installation of solar panels as a permanent conversion (destruction?) of agricultural lands. Further, The Nature Conservancy considers forests, grasslands, and wetlands to be power houses for carbon storage and oxygen release. How does wanton destruction of these lands “Save the planet?” Rural communities, such as Somerset, already have policies in place to protect these valuable assets. These policies should be strengthened, not disregarded. We have become enamored with trashing up the countryside!

• Environmental Damage: Future generations will inherit thousands of tons of expended solar panels and batteries. Satisfactory recycling and disposal methods do not exist. A legacy of a junked and polluted landscape is being left to our children and grandchildren. Case on point: California considers photoelectric panels to be hazardous waste.

• Subsidies: Developers of solar and wind projects rely heavily on subsidies. Fast write-offs, production tax credits, carbon credits, direct subsidies, low interest loans and payment in lieu of taxes (PILOTS) keep the industry alive. The claim that electrical rates will be reduced is false when subsidies are stripped away. Germany, a country heavily dedicated to solar and wind, has electricity rates almost three times higher than average rates in the United States. Industries that cannot survive without endless subsidies should not survive.

Serious issues involving industrial solar installations alter the physical and social framework of a community. The same is true of industrial wind. Other options exist to clean up the environment.

They are being ignored. The cure for alleged “Climate Change” is becoming worse than the disease. Those most affected are being ignored. Big Business in conjunction with Big Government are depriving us of our freedom to decide the destiny of our communities. The opposition is mounting.

James C. Hoffman

Town of Somerset