The Bladen County Board of Commissioners on Monday voted to ask the town of Elizabethtown to reconsider its refusal to move property along M&M Street out of the town’s extra-territorial jurisdiction in order to allow for a proposed solar farm.
We think they were wise to do that.
Solar farms are popping up everywhere, it seems, and some restrictions are necessary. But we don’t agree with some counties — like Robeson — that have banned more solar farms from being constructed.
While residents in the Newtown area of Elizabethtown are strongly against a solar farm near their neighborhood, their argument borders on nothing more than doomsday nay-saying. Their NIMBY concerns hold no water when they claim such things as radiation poisoning, ground-water contamination and the potential for children being electrocuted.
Solar farms are proving to be a tremendous benefit for converting the sun’s energy into useful power for businesses, communities and residences.
But above and beyond the advantages of solar power, investors of the proposed Elizabethtown solar farm have sweetened the deal even more.
Should the way be cleared for a solar farm in the Newtown area, investors have promised — as part of a 40-year lease of the property — to put $20,000 per year into a community fund that would only be used for improvements and/or repairs within that community. That’s a total investment of $800,000 over the 40 years and could mean such things as better streets, better drainage, a park, repairs to weather-damaged roofs, etc.
That’s pretty good incentive.
But on top of all that, the proposed solar farm will add $12,000 per year to the county’s coffers through taxes. More good stuff.
At a time when the farming community is aging and land is being planted less and less, solar farms are becoming the farming of the future. But it’s not just any land that can be used for solar energy collection. The land must meet certain criteria in order to be hooked into the power grid of a community — so insisting that solar farms be restricted to open land out in the far reaches of the county is moot.
We hope the town of Elizabethtown will take the county’s request seriously and not simply say thanks, but no thanks. The town should spend some quality time researching both sides of the solar farm issue, including the science behind capturing and converting solar energy. We think it would be a win-win-win for the town, the Newtown community and the county overall.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” (Thomas Edison, 1931)