Reality Check

What follows is a reality check of the inaccuracies contained in today’s front-page advocacy that attempts to masquerade as a news article. (see full article below)

Claim 1 –  On tax revenue “no concrete numbers have been provided to the JPC.”

Reality – At the March 2, 2022, JPC meeting Mason County PVA Troy Craycraft testified on the result, if the average acre of land taxed at ag values was instead taxed as solar leased a $650/acre per year. He stated the assessed value used to calculate real estate property tax for ag land is $300 per acre and solar at that lease rate would be accessed at $9286 / acre.  Read for supporting evidence.

Claim 2 –  “Foxworthy pointed out there isn’t a lot of information out there regarding industrial solar farms

Reality – Large Scale Solar has been in wide use for over three decades. There is always more to learn on any topic. However globally, solar has reached wide adoption. Those who cannot find peer-reviewed info on solar,  have chosen not to. Read which is only one of many sources for information on solar.

Claim 3“One misconception is that solar farms create jobs.

Reality – While Mr. Foxworthy allows as how there is a “large surge in hiring during the construction phase”.  He discounts any labor increase during production.  He fails to acknowledge that solar will be replacing cow calf and cash grain operations.  Consider the 1350 acre Hillcrest Solar farm near Mt Orab, OH. The University of Illinois estimates $48 of labor is needed to grow each acre of corn or soybeans. If all 1350 acres were in crops, that land required $64,800 of labor. Hillcrest’s payroll for their announced five full-time and five part-time employees will certainly exceed $64,800. Read More

Claim 4“Another worry Foxworthy voiced is the panels contain toxic materials.

Reality – The most commonly utilized solar technologies use inert materials found at every building site including silicon (glass), aluminum (frame) and copper (wiring). Read more

The cadmium in cadmium telluride (CdTe) PV panels is a non-soluble material; which is very stable. Read more

Claim 5Foxworthy cited the danger of storm damage to the panels or simply any of the companies shutting down operations for a myriad of reasons.

Reality – If a county adopts a solar zoning regulation based on the Kentucky Model Solar Zoning Ordinance, then it will have these requirements for issuing the Solar Farm’s permit.

  1. The estimated decommissioning cost, updated every 5 years.
  2. The manner in which the project will be decommissioned
  3. The parties responsible for decommissioning
  4. A performance bond, letter of credit, or other financial assurance payable the local jurisdiction sufficient to cover the net costs identified to assure that decommissioning of the site can be achieved by a third party in the event that a permittee defaults in that obligation

These requirements assure reclamation. Read more

Claim 6“No landfill in the state of Kentucky will take the equipment if a solar farm is deconstructed.

Reality – Economically viable recycling technology has been proven in Europe. Two plants using that technology are already operational in the USA. The closest one is in Tennessee. More facilities will be built as the waste stream fills the existing capacity.

  • Recycling increasing volumes of panels as they reach End-of-life will support considerable economic value creation. Read more
  • It is almost always better financially for End Of Life panels to be recycled, not buried in a landfill. Read more
  • Shining a light on Solar panel recycling Read more
  • While not desirable landfilling old Solar panels is likely safe. Read more

The stop-solar folks have used these same talking points though out the Solar Energy System discussion.  They seem incapable of considering peer-reviewed evidence that does not align with their worldview.  Instead, they simply repeat these same “feelings”.

I hope as you consider whether Solar should be allowed to help Mason County’s ecological and economic future you will review all the evidence and not just the F(ear) U(ncertainity) and D(oubt) spread by the Stop-Solar camp. You and your descendant’s future hangs in the balance.    

April 1, 2022 Ledger Independent