We’ve made some major progress on climate change and renewable energy recently (case in point: the COP21 summit and agreement in Paris). But what society giveth with one hand, it taketh away with the other. Back in good old North Carolina, residents of Woodland have rejected plans to build a solar farm because it would “suck up all the energy from the sun.” There you go guys—the stupidest thing you’ll read all day.
The proposal would’ve allowed Strata Solar Company to build the project just off Highway 258. The town is an ideal location, because it has a substation nearby which would allow the energy collected by the panels to go straight to the electrical grid. But, as reported by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, locals raised a number of concerns at a town council meeting that effectively scuppered the plans.
Some of the most patently ridiculous claims came from—wait for it—retired science teacher Jane Mann, who argued that the panels would soak up the sun’s rays and prevent nearby plants from photosynthesizing. You know, just like wind turbines deprive us of nearby air and dams suck up all our water.
Any reasonably intelligent and rational person attending the meeting was already facepalming hard at this point, but she wasn’t done yet. Mann also noted the high number of cancer deaths in the area, and said that no-one could prove to her solar panels didn’t cause cancer. Well, Jane, I can’t prove there’s not a china teapot orbiting Jupiter, but that doesn’t mean that it’s there. Remember folks, this woman was a science teacher.
Other residents echoed Mann’s astonishingly unscientific sentiments, and were concerned that the solar farm would dry up employment and drive young people out of the town as well. Because, you know, businesses and teenagers need sunlight too dammit! They’ve watched Woodland become a ghost town with no job opportunities, but it’s not because of the recent recession and general decline of rural America. No, it’s those bastard solar panels.
Representatives from Strata—who must’ve felt like they’d been transported straight into a scene from The Simpsons—were also present at the meeting, and attempted to address the audience’s concerns. They stated that the solar farm would be set well back from the road, and would house substantial amounts of vegetation. They argued for the safety of solar panels, and showed that they’ve had no negative impact on property values statewide. Finally, as if it needed to be said, Strata assured residents that the panels would only utilise the sunlight that hit them directly, and would not draw it away from nearby trees and plants!
But ignorance won the day, and the motion to reject the rezoning of land for the solar farm was approved by a 3-1 vote. Not only that, but the council later voted for a moratorium on all future solar farms, which means they’ve effectively blocked the development of a valuable source of renewable energy in their town. Stop the planet, I’d like to get off now.
Q: What do you think of Woodland Town Council’s decision? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.
David Carroll is a freelance writer, self-published author, and chief health-nut at thepaleotoolkit.com. Outside of work, he loves hurling (an amazing Irish sport), playing video games and hanging out with his dogs. Follow him on Twitter (@DavidAshCarroll) and Google+.