Anti Solar FUD

Category: Anti-Solar CLaims
Click on the arrow to see evidence refuting each claim
The solar energy produced will not benefit the local community because it is being sold through Purchase Power Agreements (PPAs) to out-of-state companies. 

Just as Mason County benefited when our burley tobacco was sold to buyers from outside our county.

Solar farms that sell electricity to buyers outside our community will benefit Mason County in these ways

  • Income to landowners that weill help replace lost tobacco and dairy revenue
  • Realestate property tax revenue to local taxing district taxing districts. ($14 million for 5,000 acres over 30 years)
  • Solar can differentiate our business recruiting efforts.  As of January 2020, nearly half of Fortune 500 companies have made public renewable energy, greenhouse gas (GhG), or energy efficiency commitments. 63% of the Fortune 100 companies have pledged to consume more electricity from renewable energy generators. To support this pledge, many companies are seeking rural areas with solar and wind production for their new headquarters and service centers. New wind and solar projects could make Mason County an attractive location for these companies, which could, in turn, bring more skilled jobs and tax revenue for our community.

Read more

 Estimates are at 9,100 acres (and growing) where industrial solar facilities in Mason County are now being planned. Only 22% of Mason County meets the requirements for prime farmland.  The acreage where industrial solar facilities are being planned will consume a significant percentage of our county’s most productive agricultural farmland.

This FUD raises two issues

  • 9000 acres is only 6% of Mason County farmland. Read more
  • Does Solar consume or protect farmland. Read more
Risk of fires and high winds causing damage to adjoining properties

Solar PV fire incidents are extremely rare. Previous industry reports acknowledge fewer than 1 incident per 10,000 installations. Read more

Water runoff from the panels on such a scale would affect the geology. Causing sinkholes throughout the county 

Solar panels do not change the amount of rain falling on an acre. Rain falling on a panel runs off at the dripline. Stormwater control is highly regulated for solar projects. Read more

Solar panels are made of toxic materials that could get into the environment
  • 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
Our landfill isn’t certified to take damaged panels. The nearest one is out of state.

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 Soalr panels is likly safe. Read more

If the panels make it to their 20-year life cycle they’d have to be dispossessed of or recycled (10x the cost of the disposal so they’re rarely recycled)

This attempted FUD has multiple deviations from reality

  • Solar panels usually have a 25 year perormance guarantee. So first FUD is dropping the panel’s life to 80% of warranented life. Read more
  • Recycling is becoming more cost effective as more panels are installed and the 30 + years out waste stream grows   Read more

The solar companies claim they would restore the land to its original state but the infrastructure and installation would be costly and difficult to restore.

If Mason 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 conditional use permit.

  1. The anticipated life of project and and defined conditions upon which decommissioning will be initiated;
  2. The estimated decommissioning cost, updated every 5 years.
  3. The manner in which the project will be decommissioned
  4. The parties responsible for decommissioning
  5. A performance bond, letter of credit, or other financial assurance payable to either the City of Maysville or the Mason County Fiscal Court 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

The first step in constructing a solar farm is to “level the site” and remove all the topsoil. 

Because moving soil is expensive, a developer strives to reduce the amount of soil moved. Read more

Solar Real Estate Property Tax revenue will not help Mason County Schools and taxpayers

6,000 acres of Solar will increase Mason County Schools real estate assessed value by $50,430,000. That will increase Mason County School’s property tax receipts by $278,155 but that will be partially offset by a decrease of $251,569 in KY SEEK funding. Resulting in a net gain to our schools of $26,586. Since SEEK money does not fall from the sky we KY taxpayers will save $251,569. Read more

After the construction phase, Solar will not increase local employment.

Solar is mostly replacing row crops and cow-calf operations. Row crops are highly mechanized with low labor requirements per acre. While cow-calf operations have concentrated activity, overall they require little full-time labor. The Hillcrest Solar Farm demonstrates that Solar supports more jobs per acre. Read more

Solar sites will be abandoned when the solar panels first installed become uneconomical

If Mason 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 conditional use permit.

  1. The anticipated life of project and and defined conditions upon which decommissioning will be initiated;
  2. The estimated decommissioning cost, updated every 5 years.
  3. The manner in which the project will be decommissioned
  4. The parties responsible for decommissioning
  5. A performance bond, letter of credit, or other financial assurance payable to either the City of Maysville or the Mason County Fiscal Court 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

Solar will add an additional burden to local utilities

Solar farms do not require natural gas, city water, landfill capacity, rail, river, or extensive roads. The Kentucky Public Service Commission Siting board must approve each new Solar farm and considers exactly these types of impacts on existing utilities. In addition, a Solar farm must pass a utility’s inspection, much like any new building must pass an inspection, before a Solar farm can connect to an electric utility’s transmission line. Read more

If Solar replaces current rural enterprises it will significantly impact local ag jobs

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

Solar can potentially damage our watersheds

The same amount of rain falls whether the ground is pasture, row crop, or solar. However, Solar will have stormwater control structures. These structures and the sod in and around Solar panels will reduce soil erosion and flash flood danger. Read more

Large County Wide setbacks help Mason County

If Mason County adopts something close to the Kentucky Model Solar Zoning regulation then each Solar farm will be a conditional use. This will ensure that each Solar farm is judged on how well it is screened from neighbors, protects nearby noise-sensitive areas, and is generally a good neighbor. This will be far superior to trying to apply one set of rules without considering each solar farm’s environment. Read more

Why the rush? Citizens are getting no opportunity to understand how to best regulate solar

Limestone Solar (a group of pro-solar Mason County citizens) are the ones who mailed a postcard to every postal address in Mason County. This was after our members built an educational website, made numerous Facebook posts, and hosted a solar focus group meeting in March. We pro-solar folks want public discussion of solar. It is the anti-solar folks who continually try to delay a Maysville Mason County Planning Commission public meeting on Solar. Holding an official solar zoning public meeting now is the best way for the public to comment on this topic. A one-year moratorium does not allow the public to comment.

Solar will destabilize property values

Comparative analysis shows solar facilities have no discernable impact on the property values of abutting or adjacent residential or agricultural properties. Read more

Solar poses numerous financial liabilities for our municipal government coffers.

Each acre of Solar increases our local tax district’s real estate property tax revenue by $100. Solar farms do not require natural gas, city water, landfill capacity, rail, river, or extensive roads. If we adopt sensible zoning regulations, a bond will be posted to pay for decommissioning before construction starts. Read more about tax increase Read more about decommissioning bond

Cadmium telluride Photo Voltaic panels are extremely toxic.

Cadmium in cadmium telluride (CdTe) PV panels is a non-soluble material; soluble neither in water nor in other solvents. Read more

Solar tax revenue will not help schools and taxpayers

6000 acres of Solar will generate an additional $278,155 more real estate property tax. But that will be partially offset by a decrease of $251,569 in state SEEK funding.  Or stated another way even considering the drop in SEEK funding, Mason County’s school district will gain $26,586 more revenue for the year. Read more

Solar options include mineral rights to the land.

No one I know has seen a Solar lease that includes any mention of mineral rights. This claim is another example where anti-solar voices try to introduce fear, uncertainty, and doubt. If someone raises this issue ask to see one solar lease that includes mineral rights.

Delays and moratoriums instead of solar public meetings and adopting zoning regulations

Some ask us to model Clark County’s Solar moratorium. Clark County (Winchester) is a bedroom community of Lexington-Fayette county and also has access to two interstate highways and the mountain parkway. All of these facts must allow them enough confidence to not worry about walking away from the opportunity solar presents. Wishing Mason County had those advantages will not make it so. We need to come together and decide how we can mold our reality to best prepare for our future.

Ms. Berry recommended an excellent overview of the planning issues around solar. I see it as a checklist of the issues we must consider as we move forward. And move forward, we must. Continuing to deny our reality and procrastinate will not prepare Mason County for the future. If we reject Solar, our area must immediately move on to other alternatives or accept an ever-worsening economic and ecological future. Read more

Mason County can not let this be our approach to the future

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