In part III, the article shows how the solar company causes strife between friends, family and neighbors and again, how they lack to inform the community of the possible hidden problems in the future.
By DAN WAY
But many county commissioners lack sufficient knowledge about the complex interplay of solar installations on the economic, ecological, environmental, and cultural dynamics of a community as solar companies woo them for siting approvals with promises of jobs and revenue.
“Right now it’s neighbor against neighbor, commissioner against solar that’s sort of being played out in these little communities,” Heiniger said. “I don’t know if I’ve seen rural people get as upset about an issue as they have over these solar and wind issues. … It’s just a real battlefield out there.”
Currituck County even enacted a solar installation ban after the issue blew up among residents there.
The solar industry minimizes environmental concerns, Heiniger said. While he is neither a solar opponent nor an alarmist, he said long-term issues must be addressed with dispassionate scientific research.
Many solar panels are supported by galvanized steel platforms. That steel oxidizes over time and releases zinc into the soil, which can be toxic to plants at certain levels.
That has been documented in cases where other types of galvanized steel structures were removed, and crops didn’t grow, or didn’t fare well, Heiniger said. Significant soil remediation had to take place to return that land to production.
It is uncertain if the solar panel structures would have that same effect, but it is something that demands study, he said.
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