Proposed solar farm raises concerns

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Thank you for your article on the potential solar farm. My wife and I are residents in the area that will be impacted if this comes to fruition and we have reservations. As the article states, solar energy falls into a grey area not addressed by current zoning guidelines.

We are not opposed to the idea of solar energy, however placing a solar farm in a residential area is disconcerting for several reasons. The City of Troy promotes quality of life for its citizens. The very meaning includes health, comfort, and happiness. The installation of a solar farm could threaten all of these for those of us impacted.

• Aesthetics -I know this seems trivial, but would you personally want to purchase a home near a solar farm? We live in a quiet neighborhood in which part of the appeal is the natural surroundings. Even if pushed back from the road there will still be some visibility of tall fences.

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• Property Values- Mr. Herskovits states there should not be issues with property value. However, back to my earlier question, would you personally want to live near a solar farm?

• Safety- This project would take 1.5 years to complete. As with any construction project, one can expect an increase in traffic and equipment. Butter and Egg Road has several areas of poor visibility which creates a concern for accidents. We have children in these neighborhoods. They also would want an access road on Butter and Egg which I also believe would create issues as well. What about traffic from Troy Elementary School? Traffic is already backed up during arrival and departure. Many students walk to and from school along Gibbs Street and Highway 29.  Furthermore, we foresee them using our subdivision road as a turn around point. 

•Environmental Concerns- I by no means claim to be a solar energy expert, however a quick web search will show you that solar farms do have an environmental impact. Think about erosion, disruption or wildlife, water contamination.

• Health Concerns- I don’t disagree that solar is a safer energy source, but there are still chemicals used. Silicon, or silica, can cause respiratory issues.  Photovoltaic panels may contain hazardous materials that may lead to contamination. If we are being completely honest, solar farms haven’t been around long enough to know the long term impact they have especially if near a residential area.

I’m proud of being a resident of Troy and I believe in our elected officials. I sincerely ask that the council members carefully consider their decision regarding this matter.

The City of Troy, Eagle Solar Group LLC, and the utility company that purchases the power all have potential gains in this transaction. However, based on the information I have at this time, my family and the other residents only reap the potentially negative consequences if this moves forward?

I would ask them to consider how they would feel if this was being proposed in their back yard. I would ask them if they were buying a new house, would they want to buy a home next to a solar utility faculty?

Quality of life is the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group. This proposition leaves me concerned about all the above.

Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns.

Matthew Ellis

Troy resident