Letter: Don’t approve Gold Hill solar farm

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 5, 2021

I read with great interest the other day in the Salisbury Post about a future solar farm in Gold Hill. The spokesman for the project was  Landon Abernathy, who works for the Birdseye Renewable Energy Co. He spoke of the benefits for allowing the project to proceed. As quoted in the paper, he said the following:  “We’re low. We’re quiet. We don’t cause a lot of traffic. We increase tax revenues. We don’t cause additional emergency response, seats on school buses, a typical drain on county resources.” None of this was very compelling, but he saved the best for last. He finished by saying, “I really think there’s a real argument here that you’re blocking off this land for the long term for a use that is low impact.”

Low impact? Is he kidding? I don’t consider demolishing 560 acres of green meadows and trees and replacing it with an ocean of solar panels low impact! That’s 560 acres that can no longer be farmed or used by our local wildlife. That’s 560 acres that can’t eventually be used for reasonable housing or local business. If it must be developed in the future, maybe all these future structures should have some sort of solar capacity included.

I don’t know what solar panels cost these days, but solar doesn’t have to provide 100% of your energy needs. Years ago, I owned a house with some solar panels. But the sole purpose of these panels was to provide my house with hot water. The rest of my energy needs were met by the local power company. Solar and other renewables can work in conjunction with fossil fuels. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. Hybrid cars are a perfect example.

I hope the county doesn’t approve this project just to be politically correct. That would be totally incorrect!

— Allan Gilmour