Opinion: Solar arrays do not belong on open agricultural lands

In regard to all of the solar controversy going on in our world: This is pretty much my response to an e-mail I received pertaining to PSB Docket 8523: The power plant that is proposed for development at 820 Field Days Road in New Haven is seven times the size that our town plan allows. I feel very strongly on my position of responsibility.
• Responsible installation. Stop using green fields. There are plenty of rooftops that can be used to place solar panels on. Yes, it would involve a little more expense and work to reinforce these structures, but save our land. Field Days, Four Hills, Misty Knoll all have plenty of existing rooftops that could support substantial power plants. New construction should be mandated to have solar panels on their roofs. Misty Knoll is builing a new barn as we speak — will it have panels? Four Hills is rumored to be building a new barn. Will it have panels?
• Responsibility to plant and maintain screening. If rooftops are used, this would not be an issue. But since there are power plants already in place in our fields, there is little or no screening in place, and what is, is a joke. Trees could easily be placed around these power plants to hide them.
• Resposibility to remove. When existing developers sell their projects and are down the road (even if they still own them), and there is no recycle program for these materials, who is going to take care of obsolete power plants and be responsible to make sure the materials are disposed of in a responsible fashion?
• Responsible for wear and tear on town roads. Take Campground Road, for example. Look at what happens to a road with large, heavy trucks coming and going from one spot. We are not only talking about the power plant going in at Field Days Road, but another proposed to go in north of West Cemetery and Quaker Village Road. Who will be responsible to bring the roads back to what they were before construction started? Pike Industries supposedly has an “agreement” with the town to maintain that road. Hmm.
• Responsibility for our birds and wildlife. How are these power plants being placed in green fields going to affect our grassland birds, migrating geese, etc.? At our property we have nesting eagles nearby that frequent our fields, plus nesting hawks, herons and ducks, and we are in direct migration for geese from Dead Creek to Otter Creek. Will these power plants in fields where the birds either land to rest or fly over affect their migration?
• Responsibility for time spent, stress, strain, pain and suffering these irresponsible situations are creating for not only my entire neighborhood from Twitchell Hill to Field Days Road to Otter Creek Highway to Pearson Road, but our entire state. I have people commenting from Island Pond to Williamstown to Bennington.
• Responsibility to look at these power plants for what they are: not arrays, not farms, but commercial power plants. And if they are going to stay in fields, put them in the commercial corridor with ample screening.
These are many people’s feelings, not just mine! Ninety-eight percent of the people I talk to feel this way. Just as an example, look at the ratio of for and against at the public hearing the other night.
I appreciate the kind, caring people solar developer Nathaniel Vandal of Green Peak Solar and his partner are, but why are they being so irresponsible by putting a commercial power plant on agricultural land that feeds a neighbor’s cows?
Jill L. DeVoe
New Haven

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