The Chinese have been buying vast tracts of farmland in the United States and some legislators are trying to put a stop to the practice, but when not buying the land outright, they still take control of a lot of agricultural land when developers lease it from property owners and cover it with solar panels and related solar equipment made in China.
From China to our farmlands
When Wilson Solar LLC distributed information about their proposed Wattsburg solar project to nearby landowners, they listed the primary components to be installed: Canadian Solar CS3Y-485MB-AG photovoltaic modules and Sungrow SG3600UD_MV inverters. Sungrow is headquartered in China while Canadian Solar is headquartered in Ontario Canada, but there’s a bit more to the story and the company has a controversial history.
Though the name, Canadian Solar, makes it sound like it’s just across Lake Erie, only around 3% of its workforce is in Canada, while 95% are in Asia, with 79% in China. (source) and until recently using suppliers in Xinjiang, a region known for detention of Uyghur Muslims and forced labor camps. As a result, the administration directed:
the U.S. Commerce Department to blacklist one of Canadian Solar’s largest suppliers, Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Technology, a subsidiary of GCL New Energy, which is itself a subsidiary of GCL-Poly Energy. GCL Poly Energy is one of the largest suppliers of polysilicon (a component of solar cells) in China.
So, after numerous unfavorable reports and blacklisting of a major supplier, the company was reported to have sold off its operations in Xinjiang. Is this a company whose products we want blanketing Venango Township agricultural land?
Townships and counties across the USA are saying no
As previously noted here, there is a Renewable Rejection Database with a long list of places where these projects were stopped.
Which would you rather do, protect our farmland or cover it with Chinese solar panels? Your voice counts. What do you think?