A Seattle company is proposing to build solar projects on three South Anne Arundel County farms is holding a public meeting this evening to discuss the project and field questions and comments.
According to The Capital Gazette,
The installations could cover about 10 acres of each farm in solar panels, plus access roadways and infrastructure required to convert and distribute the electricity generated at each site.
The company, One Energy Renewables, has been developing medium- sized solar projects on agricultural land across the country.
It was partner in two large projects on the Eastern Shore; the 40,000 solar panel project in a field near Wye Mills providing power for Johns Hopkins and another outside Cambridge, 14,326 panels indirectly supplying The National Aquarium with 40 percent of its electricity needs.
The projects in South County — on a 58-acre property on Sands Road, an 82-acre parcel on Bayard Road and a 50-acre plot on Franklin Gibson Road — would likely have under 8,000 panels each.
According to its website, the company leases land from farm families.
“You’ll be harvesting a renewable resource that promises a stable and long-term source of revenue for your family – one that doesn’t fluctuate with global commodity markets, or vary based on weather events year to year,” the site reads.
Once the lease is up, or the panels have exhausted their usefulness, One Energy says it removes all equipment and infrastructure and the land can be farmed again.
But some farmers wonder if this is the best use of agricultural land.
“I thought the county was committed to preserving agriculture in South County,” said John Ball, who owns 160 acres on Franklin Gibson Road.
“That’s not agriculture, that’s light industrial, if you ask me,” Ball said.
He also questioned the wisdom of plopping down such a complex in the middle of several farms in agricultural preservation.
“The county has to make a decision: Is it going to preserve agriculture or chase solar farms?” he said.
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