By DAN WAY
Most cropland in North Carolina must be spread regularly with alkaline limestone to neutralize their inherently acidic nature. Solar installations do not perform that practice, and after 20 years or more of nonagricultural use the acid content of soil would spike.
A farmer wanting to reclaim the land would have to make a significant investment in limestone and other nutrients. Whether that would be economically feasible would depend on agriculture prices being high enough to sustain the outlay, Heiniger said.
The data shows the solar panels “channelize water,” causing it to leave the site faster, and infiltrate neighboring properties, Heiniger said. Some farmers have confirmed their fields became wetter than before the placement of a nearby solar facility, and they were having difficulty getting in to till their land to prepare it for the growing season.
Grass and plant cover at solar facilities would prevent a lot of erosion, but water leaving the site carries some particulate, Heiniger said.