Here’s my problem with the solar energy issue in Page County. Last week, a rep with the Cape Solar project wrote a piece that suggested that Page County would get substantial financial benefit from kit proposed solar energy project. Now, the Page County farmers group suggests the opposite. From where I sit, these ongoing total opposite arguments have permeated the solar issue from the start.
As a retired environmental scientist, I believe that solar energy projects provide considerable benefit to energy conservation in the surrounding area and are consistent with President Biden’s initiative to lessen climate change worldwide. I have seen exciting solar energy projects provide massive environmental benefits. One has but to
review the solar energy project in Mercer County, N.J. to see why Page County and other communities would be smart to get clean solar energy, and get rid of the 20th-century mentality that solar is dangerous. Our planning folk and the supervisors should make the effort to model the planned solar ordinances with established ordinances across the U.S. Organizations like the National Association of Counties typically have collections of hundreds of successful ordinances that are available to their members. Page’s reps shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel to get smart about solar energy.
As a scientist and a water quality specialist who lives on the Shenandoah River, I would be the first person to complain if the proposed solar projects in Page County presented an environmental hazard to the adjacent soil and water. Frankly, never in my 30-year professional career have I ever seen a single instance of a solar project presenting an environment threat to a community. This argument is in every document presented by local opponents of the solar projects; they even argue that disposal of old solar panels would be toxic in landfills. Come on, landfills contribute lots of toxic chemicals to the county; solar isn’t one of them.
Mercer County installed its hundreds of solar panels at the corner of the property of Mercer County Community College. It provides free electricity to I believe all Mercer County Government buildings for free, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. Somebody please tell me why this isn’t a “win-win” situation for Mercer County. My only suggestion to the planning and supervisor folk when this issue first came up was for them to take a road trip to Mercer County and take a tour of its solar facility. They didn’t take up my suggestion.
I’ve witnessed lots of NIMBY (not in my back yard) projects in my career, and I’ve learned that the real issue typically is money. I do not have an intimate knowledge of the proposed solar projects for Page County, but I suspect that the solar proponents plan would be more receptive to County residents if they came up with more dollars and energy savings to the County, along the lines of the arguments presented in the Cape Solar project.
Like the movie said, “Show me the money.”
Don Feliciano ~ Luray, Va.
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