Temporarily halt solar projects and to revise town bylaws.
Temporarily halt solar projects and to revise town bylaws.
The Solar projects possess a threat to the well-being of residents, “including their financial security and their right to fully enjoy the property they own, without suffering such devastating destruction of the peace, beauty, and harmony of their neighborhood.”
The solar project are “ugly” and “blight”.
It will impact the local environment in negative ways.
Concerns range from visual impacts to property devaluation, noise, drinking water quality supply, unmanaged drainage systems, health and safety.
The Rutland residents are currently gathering signatures from people opposing the solar projects, the residents are petitioning selectmen to take action to temporarily halt solar projects and to revise town bylaws.
The residents are requesting The Board Of Selectmen’s, in response to concerns raised by the residents, town officials must look into imposing a moratorium on future ground solar installations until local zoning bylaws are amended to restrict such developments to areas that will least impact the welfare of residents and the town’s historic character. It also suggested that officials add a provision to the town bylaws preventing construction of solar farms in rural or residentially zoned areas.
- Visual Impact - Like any proposed structure, concerns can be raised over the visual impact a solar development will have on its surroundings. To construct a solar farm, numerous panels must be installed. This alters the landscape in practical and aesthetic ways. The land can no longer be used for anything but power generation. The reflective panels may not be personally attractive to some people. The panels, once installed, can also alter local habitats and affect wildlife in negative ways.
- Reflections from the Panels - Panel reflection is possibly the most common safety concern raised for solar developments, and is commonly referred to as ‘glint and glare’ concerns. Solar panels are designed to absorb as much light as possible and reflect as little as possible. Many modern commercial panels are NOT ‘anti-glare’ to minimize reflections further.
- Noise - Concerns over noise can be expressed for a solar development. Any issues would most likely be constrained to locations in very close proximity to the inverters. Sound equals to generator like noise. In order to provide a significant amount of electrical energy, solar farms require large tracts of land. Eastern states have abundant space and sunshine, but these areas are also natural habitats that support wildlife. For example, environmental reports underestimated the number of wild animals that would be displaced by the large Solar Generating Systems. Many solar farms also came under scrutiny when an increasing number of bird deaths were reported on its premises. Many of their wings had been melted or burned off by heat from the solar farm’s mirrors.
- Property Devaluation - The solar farms would devalue residents properties due to present health risks from the installation, electromagnetic exposure, visual impact, solar panels glare, drinking water supply, poor water drainage management, continuous noise during the solar production (generator like noise), and habitat degradation.
- Electromagnetic Short & Long Term Health Effects - A study of real-world exposure to non-ionizing radiation from magnetic fields in pregnant women found a significantly higher rate of miscarriage, providing new evidence regarding their potential health risks, according to the World Health Association. There are established biological effects from acute exposure at high levels that are explained by recognized biophysical mechanisms. External ELF magnetic fields induce electric fields and currents in the body which, at very high field strengths, cause nerve and muscle stimulation and changes in nerve cell excitability in the central nervous system. Potential long-term effects: Much of the scientific research examining long-term risks from ELF magnetic field exposure has focused on childhood leukemia. In 2002, IARC published a monograph classifying ELF magnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans".
- Human Health Risks - While solar power remains a more environmentally friendly form of energy production than fossil fuel sources, it is not completely free of hazards. Toxic chemicals, including hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid, are used to clean the surface of semiconductors during PV cell production. The cells themselves contain materials that are harmful to people and the environment if improperly thrown away; these include gallium arsenide and cadmium telluride. Silicon dust produced by the PV cell manufacturing process is also harmful to people if inhaled.
- Fire Safety - The possibility of fires resulting from or intensified by PV systems may trigger concern among the general public as well as among firefighters.
- Habitat Degradation - The impact that solar farms have on individual species can send ripples throughout entire ecosystems. When solar farms harm or remove species within a habitat, they also remove the valuable ecosystem services that they provide to the habitat. The habitat becomes less livable for plants and wildlife that have adapted to its specific conditions.
- Land Use Consequences - Utility-scale solar power installations require a lot of space because solar energy collection is relatively inefficient; it can take up to 10 acres of solar panels to produce 1 megawatt of electricity. Clearing land for a solar power plant will destroy wildlife habitat and degrade soil quality by removing plants and their root structures. Water Supply Management may be threatened if not carefully managed.
- Water Maintenance & Drainage - Construction projects need to have serious consideration of the quantity of stormwater retained at the construction site. The integrity of the town’s water system is among the concerns that potentially toxic components of the solar equipment could leak. Estimating stormwater retained for a solar farm project can be challenging because the panels are impervious but the area beneath the panels is often pervious. Unmanaged drainage systems, even when designed to properly remove sufficient water from solar farms, can have detrimental effects on nearby properties.
- Panel End-of-Life Management - Operations and Maintenance – Panel Washing and Vegetation Control Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) PV systems do not emit any material during their operation; however, they do generate electromagnetic fields (EMF), sometimes referred to as radiation. EMF produced by electricity is nonionizing radiation, meaning the radiation has enough energy to move atoms in a molecule around (experienced as heat), but not enough energy to remove electrons from an atom or molecule (ionize) or to damage DNA.
- Energy Consumption - Solar power plants generate clean energy, but they do not yet produce enough to provide electricity for the production of all solar power equipment. Most PV cells and other solar equipment are produced in facilities that rely on fossil fuel-based power sources, such as traditional power plants. Therefore, the manufacture of these components results in the emission of greenhouse gases and other pollutants that affect the air and nearby water bodies. Transporting, installing and maintaining solar power equipment also contributes to the carbon footprint of this power source.