It’s easy to talk about solar panels and solar projects, but have you seen one up close? Solar developers always have some beauty shots on their websites to show you how pretty they are, but what do they REALLY look like? What would an installation look like if they were installed here instead of on some perfect, flat land in a sunny climate? Well, as luck would have it, the answer is short drive away.
Sherman New York is an example
On just a tiny fraction of the area planned for Wattsburg, in nearby Sherman, New York, just outside of town on Route 430 is a 34 acre project still in the process of being installed. If you drive through the countryside from Findley Lake toward Sherman, you’ll suddenly come up on the solar installation and it looks completely out of place. It’s a jarring image. It’s like someone scattered large metal sheets all over the fields, it’s nothing like the pretty pictures shown on websites touting green energy. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but this is a long way from pretty. It makes the whole area look cheap and rundown and these panels are brand new. People love the countryside for it’s beautiful views, but put in a solar project and you have something else altogether.
Remember, the entire Sherman project, which is still under way, is only 9.62 Megawatts on 34 acres. Wattsburg, which is supposedly 80 Megawatts, now said to be on over 900 acres, would be around 30 times the size of this one.
Is this kind of industrial growth, where trees and fields used to be, a sign of progress? Is this what the people of Venango Township want? Is this the view of the countryside you want to see? You need to let your supervisors know. Show up at the meetings and ask questions. Tell them what you think. The developers care about the money, not green electricity and certainly not you. A decision on this project will be made with or without your input, so if you want to have your say, if you want to affect the outcome, you have to show up, stand up and speak up.