Letter to the Editor: Solar farm not for our neighborhood

Published 12:43 am Thursday, November 9, 2023

How would you feel if you learned an energy company had proposed building a solar farm in your neighborhood? In the past several years, 17 new homes have been built on Old Ridge Road between Rt. 460 and Ridgeway II Subdivision, which is nearly 45 years old. Our community learned at the end of August that a property owner across from the new houses and adjoining our subdivision contacted a solar energy company to construct a 25-acre solar farm.

Solar farm energy can provide benefits when built and placed away from residential areas. Building one in our neighborhood brings concerns rather than benefits. Some of our concerns are potential fire hazards caused by faulty equipment, wildlife habitat destruction, toxic materials from damaged solar panels leaching into the groundwater, heat from the panels, loss of property value, possible noise from mechanical components, more traffic on an already busy road from trucks and equipment, cutting down trees, grading the land, building and maintaining equipment, changes to environment, effects on human health from living so close to the solar farm, and the unknown consequences in the future.

We have nothing against solar energy, but we do disagree with it being constructed in our community. Just because the solar energy company says we won’t see the solar farm does not mean it doesn’t come with negative effects or make us feel better about it. It will be constructed within feet of our neighbors’ backyards. There is plenty of open land located in Prince Edward County suitable for solar farms. The reason to place a solar farm in our neighborhood is for the landowner’s financial gain. The landowner has shown no indication of being a good neighbor. In our lives we’ve seen or experienced things that were sold as good and healthy for humans or the environment that aren’t.

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If this project is approved, we will have to live with the consequences. Our county, surrounding counties and the world is grappling with this issue. As property owners we pay taxes; contribute to the neighborhood; and value our property, land, rights to be respected, safe and live in peace. We recommend that this energy company find a better place to build their solar farm. We don’t want it as our neighbor. We hope you have thought about the question concerning the solar farm in your neighborhood because your community might be next.

Anita Harris