Letter to editor concerning solar energy projects | Opinion | postandcourier.com – The Post and Courier

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Moratorium Cheryl Lane pic

Photo submitted by Cheryl Lane.

Dear Editor,

These are serious questions that address “health and safety” for all of us here in Williamsburg County. This is not a complete list, but it addresses some areas of concern as we face the possibility of 21,000 acres of solar energy projects according to the proposed ordinance by the Williamsburg County Council.

Environmental Questions for our Local Communities:

1. How are endangered and threatened plant and animal species found and

protected when thousands of acres of historical timberland are clear cut?

2. How are our other wildlife such owls, deer, ducks, frogs, dove, quail, turkey, bats, snakes, turtles, bees, and fish that we hunt, fish, and love having as a part of rural life being protected?

3. What are the long-term effects to wildlife such as deer who would be fenced out of huge areas because of electrical requirements or recommendations for a 6- 8 ft. high fence around all electrical parts?

4. How will farmers’ crops be affected by the “fencing out” of deer and wild hogs over thousands of acres? How will they be compensated for crop loss?

5. How will local landowners be affected by additional stormwater runoff as hundreds and/or thousands of acres are clear cut?

6. How will the Black River and her swamps and tributaries be affected by additional run-off?

7. How will the current image of being a “Sportsman’s Paradise” be changed for the local people, as well as, out-of-town hunters and tourists?

Industry and Construction Questions:

1. Does locally produced solar utility scale power benefit the community in which it is produced?

2. Who receives cash/tax credit/other special revenue incentives to build a rural utility scale solar project?

3. How many hours a day would you consider a utility solar project to be energy efficient considering that all solar panels are clean and working?

8. What happens to the efficiency rate if the solar panels are covered with dust, mold, or pollen?

9. Do solar utility scale developers have solar panel cleaning built-in for project maintenance?

10. What are the potentially toxic or hazardous materials in the solar industry’s most commonly used solar panels?

11. What current SC recycling facilities accept used/broken/discarded PV solar panels? Is there a state monitoring system for monitoring this? Who pays for the panels to be transported?

12. What type of severe weather could damage PV solar panels: hail, severe thunderstorms, hurricanes?

13. If damaged, whose responsibility would it be for the site and adjacent properties to be cleaned, restored, and checked for hazardous contamination?

14. What is “end of life” for a utility scale solar project? What does SC DHEC suggest for end of life solar panels/projects?

15. What will the impact of solar glare be as the solar panels track the sun during the day on our county airport and airstrips of local individuals?

16. At what point is training provided for the county and local fire departments to be able to handle a fire at a utility scale solar project because of the presence of potentially hazardous materials in the solar panels and any type of battery energy-producing or storage device? Does Williamsburg County have the resources to handle such fires?

Again…we ask…What is the big, really big thing planned for tax map #45-046-003, the Greeleyville community, and other areas of Williamsburg County on any land that was originally old Westvaco timberland and other adjacent properties?

NOW, we ask how is our local government responding for the best interest of

  • the private citizens and local communities which are in harm’s way if proper
  • guardrails are not in place as utility scale projects are being proposed on
  • approximately 21,000 acres adjacent to our homes and communities.

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