Letter – Opposed to solar farms

Published 6:03 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Solar power is not clean, it is not green, and it is not renewable, despite the claims of the multinational corporations attempting to make a quick buck off of pillaging our rural landscape. Solar is the electricity source that requires, by far, the most raw materials (concrete, steel, glass, copper, aluminum, plastic, heavy metals — all of which require fossil fuels and mining) to produce each terawatt.

Another crucial facet of solar is that it produces electricity on its own time schedule. This means that the power is less reliable, and that we still need full production capacity for all of the times that people need it — heat on a winter night, for example, or A/C on a cloudy day. You can’t time your morning shower based on when the sun is shining. 

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If we need full baseload capacity, why spoil the land with toxic panels at all? And since battery storage is insanely expensive, there is no current solution to this problem.

Another issue: What are the chances that these panels will ever get cleaned up from the landscape before they begin to leach cadmium and lithium into our aquifers (all it takes is one hail storm, as demonstrated across the U.S. of late), and even if they are collected, they cannot be recycled and must be stacked in landfills. Not very green.

This leaves tax revenue as the only upside to a project such as Sycamore Cross. This is simply a bribe to try to swindle the Board of Supervisors into approving. A trifling $25 per resident, per year ($20 million over 20 years; 40,000 residents), which we will never see a benefit from anyway. That’s absolutely insulting. 

Solar power is dirty, expensive, unreliable and toxic, not to mention ugly. I hate that our county has been scarred forever by the existing developments. I hate that our board was not wise enough to prevent every industrial solar development from the start. I hate that I don’t have time to be present to be a thorn in the board’s side for every meeting about this topic.

Please do not allow any more permanent damage to be done to our county in exchange for a few dollars that will quickly disappear.


Peter K. Acker