Letter -Don’t worsen solar fallouts

Published 7:10 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

The Surry County Comprehensive Plan places its highest priority on “Improving the quality of life of Surry residents.” 

During the past two years of construction of the Cavalier Solar Project, the county has endured the destruction of county roads and numerous traffic accidents, including a head-on impact with a school bus and uncountable near misses, that have turned our roads into the land of the lawless. The quality of life for residents surrounding the Cavalier Solar project has turned into an intolerable and fearful nightmare. 

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The company’s repeated unfulfilled promises to improve conditions only exacerbate the issues. Clearly, starting another solar project by the same company when the current project hasn’t finished would give no relief from these unbearable conditions for another two years to the residents of Surry County.

The Sycamore Cross project promises Surry revenue to be $1.8 million over 35 years, or an average of $51,000 per year. This assumes the project produces 100% of its predicted total generation capacity. This revenue is a negligible amount compared to the cost of damage to county roads and personal property, or the demand for fire, rescue and police responses, or stormwater and land grading, or decommissioning that leaves solar panels to Surry for removal.

People move to Surry for its beauty and serene setting, for its quiet environment and its starlit nights where the humming of industries are not present, and for low traffic on roads with neighbors who respect and are considerate of each other. Given the severe reduction in quality of life for county residents and the unmitigated issues caused by the Cavalier Solar Project, we can only expect more of the same from this company.  

Therefore, for this reason combined with issues noted in the Surry Planning Commission’s decision that the project is not in substantial accord with the Surry County Comprehensive Plan, I believe this proposed project should not be approved by the Surry or the Isle of Wight boards of supervisors.


Dianne Cheek