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article imageOp-Ed: Town rejects solar panels amid claims they 'suck up' sun's energy

By Megan Hamilton     Dec 14, 2015 in Environment
Woodland - During a meeting of the Woodland Town Council, residents rejected a proposal for a solar farm.
One local resident, Bobby Mann, voiced concerns that solar farms would suck up all of the sun's energy and drive businesses away.
Retired science teacher Jane Mann said she worried that the panels would stop plants in the area from photosynthesizing, thus keeping them from growing, The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald reports.
Mann mentioned that she'd seen areas around solar panels where plants had turned brown and died due to lack of sunlight.
I mean really, who cares that Texaco, now owned by Chevron, very nearly destroyed the Ecuadorean Oriente, located at on the Amazon rain forest's western edge. It's only the most biologically diverse place on the planet, with one of the world's few indigenous people still living their traditional ways, the Huaroni people.
Who cares that the Oriente has been horrendously degraded and deforested and suffered enormous oil spills--especially one oil spill that was so large that it caused the Rio Napo to run black for days on end and forced Peru and Brazil (located downstream) to declare states of emergency for the regions affected by this. Green groups allege that Texaco poisoned waterways with over 20 billion gallons of toxic drilling by-products and spilled 17 million gallons of crude.
Who cares about that when there's a few brown plants around solar farms in North Carolina?
I realize that was probably a snark overload, but worrying that solar farms will vacuum up the sun's energy, or cause a few brown plants? Really? I think my mind blew a gasket on that one.
Jane Mann also cited the high number of cancer deaths in the area and said no one could convince her that solar panels didn't cause cancer, and as this article from the Union of Concerned Scientists points out, there can be environmental and health risks associated with solar farms. She may or may not have a point there.
However, we're murdering the world's rain forests in vast numbers in the name of Big Oil and for a gazillion other reasons. But these people are worried about brown plants and solar panels somehow magically gobbling up the sun's energy?
I don't know; that's a lot of responsibility for one solar farm, don't you think?
The area around Woodland is a popular choice for solar farms because the town has an electrical substation where panels can be hooked up to the national grid, The Independent reports.
Which is why Strata Solar Company wanted to move in.
At the meeting, a company spokesperson said there are no negative impacts and that a solar farm "is a wonderful use for a property like this."
"The panels don't draw additional sunlight," the spokesperson added.
The council has approved three other solar farms, and one has begun installing panels, reports.
A petition calling to reject solar farms from moving into the area was handed to the council and requests were made that future solar farm applications become a referendum.
Strata representatives tried to put residents at ease and reminded them that "this is a tried and true technology," and that there weren't any toxic materials on the site.
Even so, the council voted 3-1 against rezoning the land and voted to place a moratorium on future solar farms.
Perhaps people might want to reflect on the idea that when there's a solar spill, it merely means we're having a sunny day. Big oil has a spill and people and other creatures die.
But let's worry about solar panels sucking up the sun's energy.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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