The Downside of Solar Farms on the South Coast

May 10, 2022

Montana Loans

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To twist Joni Mitchell’s hit song “Big Yellow Taxi” I’ll say “They paved heaven and set up a solar farm” because people are paying close attention to whether some of the solar farms are creating problems that harm the environment.

In Wareham, townspeople are worried about the felling of all the trees to accommodate nearly 20 solar farms on 300 acres of land and at least nine more, totaling another 500 acres planned. Even those who value clean energy worry that cutting down forests and altering natural habitats to make room for solar panels is going too far, according to a piece in the boston globe magazine by Emma Foehringer Merchant.

At the Acushnet town hall this week, the same reservations surfaced when residents voted to impose a 180-day moratorium on the issuance of any new solar farm permits until officials could review the current regulations.

“There are 20 permits right now, but the neighbors have a lot of questions about any possibility of hazardous materials in 20 to 25 years, and to be honest, I don’t think we need all these solar farms,” said said Town. Meeting with Elector Norman Fredette.

“Solar electricity is no cheaper than natural gas or oil to power factories and manufacturing,” the licensed contractor said.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources estimates that about 2,500 acres of trees have been felled to install solar panels over the past 10 years.

“I’m old school on this. If solar power was so important, there would be a lot more people jumping on the bandwagon,” Fredette said. “Furthermore, the felling of trees and forests negatively affects our environment and our local vegetation and wildlife, and have you seen the interference with rainfall and drainage they cause?”

It is not a question of being for or against the production of solar energy. It’s about doing the right thing. I don’t think it’s “old school” to take a break as a community, like Wareham and Acushnet, and look very closely at all the issues here.

I also don’t think it’s old school to find out if solar farms harm the environment, so it’s not worth it, in many cases, but not all.

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