To the editor:
Two years ago, my family moved from Chicago to Louisa in search of a more private, nature-based lifestyle. We have always loved the outdoors, so we chose our home with the conscious desire to immerse ourselves in the area’s beautiful, native wildlife.
However, not long after our relocation, we realized a solar farm was to be built on a neighboring property. As longtime supporters of alternative energy sources and environmental preservation, we hoped that this addition would have an overall positive impact. That said, we recently heard discussion about the possibility of a second, large solar farm to be located near Waldrop Church Road. My family moved here looking for a nature-friendly sanctuary and instead might soon be blocked in by solar farms.
This has led us to the obvious question of whether the pros of this additional solar farm will truly outweigh its cons. Solar farms, on a large scale (as would be the case if the second one is permitted), can cause disruption to the habitat of local wildlife, generally lower the health of the surrounding environment, and present unknown threats to the safety of nearby homes.
As an immediate result, solar farms push animals out of their disrupted habitats and into surrounding areas, often causing overcrowding which can in turn lead to increased human contact, disease and stripping of natural resources. My family has seen this firsthand as construction of a single solar field has pushed more and more deer and bears onto our property, creating an alarming safety hazard for local children and pets. Furthermore, birds, insects, and bats that fly over solar fields can be killed, forced to ground, or ignited midair due to increased temperatures caused by solar reflecting mirrors. These increased temperatures, along with chemicals the panels introduce, also inhibit the growth of local flora and fauna; impede surrounding crop growth; lower overall carbon dioxide processing because of tree removal; and cause higher greenhouse emissions. This means that the hunting and farming integral to Louisa’s culture would be readily and immediately threatened upon the second field’s installation. Finally, the solar panels themselves contain hazardous chemicals which can make their way into nearby soil and water systems, further threatening the health of both the natural environment and the nearby town.
These hazards present only a few of the arguments against the addition of a second solar field, all with significant negative ramifications for our community. We urge the local community to join us in asking that the permit for this solar farm not be granted until further research can be done to prove that the environmental, wildlife and overall health damages can and will be controlled, with a legitimate, written risk management plan in place. This town is our home and our community, and we believe its safety should outweigh corporations’ monetary gain every time. We hope you agree.