Since there were 5 solar reps present, at times there were many conversations going on at once. This means not everyone was able to hear all the discussions. Below are highlights what was shared with us.
First and foremost, it was said that no one was against industrial solar, but it was said that all were against where they were trying to put them. All land they are currently leasing is zoned agriculture and the solar company stated their goal is to change the township ordinance to industrial so they can put their industrial solar panels on prime farmland. The solar reps even stated the solar fields were considered industrial.
When asked why they did not approach land that was more appropriate (commercial/industrial/not prime land), they did not come up with solid answer, and at no time did they state that they couldn’t. Instead, they side stepped the questions with technical terms or just completely ignored the questions.
Another source said they heard industrial solar was not on commercial land as there were no transmission line on commercial land. They were also questioned several times why they didn’t put it on the stripped ground or commercial land in Mahoning twp. The solar rep said they had looked at that option, but when shown how close it is to the transmission lines, they said they would look into it again.
Someone else shared they had heard that the solar reps have told the lease owners that they did extensive research and there is not enough commercial land in NBT to make it profitable enough for them.