LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Solar farm is bad for Stanly County

Published 10:35 am Monday, March 27, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

News that EDPR will begin construction on its first solar installation in North Carolina is bad news for Stanly County. The project will line the developer’s pockets while making electrical grid more expensive and less reliable.

Construction recently began on the 500-acre Misenheimer Solar Park on private land just west of Pfeiffer University. The project will feature approximately 200,000 solar panels, ranging from three to four feet by six to seven feet.

The farm was approved before Stanly County revised its guidelines on large solar generators, which means the region will not benefit from the commonsense guardrails contained in the new regulations, such as protections for the county in case of abandonment, which would leave cleanup on the backs of taxpayers and landowners in the event of a default.

That latter point is crucial since most solar farms are set up as limited liability companies, which often pass ownership from entity to entity, so holding an owner accountable is, by design, exceedingly difficult.

And since 80% of solar panels are made in China, it will be nearly impossible to ensure that panels don’t contain heavy metals like lead, cadmium, zinc and dangerous PFAS toxins (forever chemicals).

In other words, the new solar farm escapes all the proper safeguards and could haunt the county for years to come.

Rural Americans are facing an onslaught from a well-funded “green” movement of solar developers awash with federal slush funds and taxpayer subsidies to inundate our countryside with useless solar farms.
Useless because even on good days, intermittent “non-dispatchable” solar energy is available just 30% of the time, needing expensive backup from redundant fossil fuel generation – an added cost that goes ignored. On cloudy days or at night, output is zero.

And when it comes to dependability, North Carolinians know all too well what an unreliable electricity grid feels like.

Without notice, Duke Energy cut power to over 500,000 residential customers on Christmas Eve to avoid a system-wide blackout as bitter cold weather descended on the area. Solar contributed zilch to the electricity supply when the temperatures were coldest and demand highest (because it was dark out).

For the developer to boast about tax revenue impact is a red herring, as state law allows counties to only tax 20% of the real property value. And these farms create virtually no permanent jobs, save some land maintenance.

Oh, and all this solar nonsense will do absolutely nothing to lower the world’s carbon levels. China is building two new coal power plants per week — six times as many plants under construction as the rest of the world combined.

Residents in rural America find themselves in the crosshairs of special interests, specifically “climate-change” policies driven by the ultra-rich and their lavishly funded nonprofits and urban activists.

Americans are being asked to sacrifice landscape, livelihoods, and environment to appease affluent zealots in Raleigh, Charlotte and other left-wing cities.

Political and economic elites may feel free to despoil the countryside, but they do so at their political peril.

Roddey Dowd Jr. of Charlotte served as CEO of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry from 2012 to 2022 and has since served on the company’s Board of Directors.