Missouri Solar Panel Projects Spark Opposition from Farmers and Residents

Farmers and residents in Missouri are divided over the installation of solar panels in their communities. The opposition is due to fears of losing cropland to solar farms, which they believe will disrupt their agricultural community and bankrupt their businesses.

One such resident is Susan Burns, who has watched the sunset over her cousin’s field for 75 years. She has begun recruiting community members to protest the solar panel project that her cousin agreed to. She is concerned about losing her view, health, and safety. However, Burns did not specify the risks posed by solar farms.

Some residents are worried about the proximity of solar installations to their homes or daycare centres. They refer to them as “industrial complexes with high voltage.” They are also concerned about the lack of tax revenue that goes to the county and the potential decrease in property values if they are surrounded by solar farms.

Ranger Power, a renewable energy company, plans to set up a 250-megawatt solar panel project to power nearly 35,000 homes. The company has shown interest in paying funds to the county annually for the duration of the project. They have also assured residents that the solar panels would be at least 45 meters from any homes. The land could also be healthier at the end of the project as native plants and pollinators grow in the soil and rebuild nutrients. The panels would be removed without trace in 30-35 years, at the end of the project.

The opposition to solar panels has divided families and turned friends into foes. Some farmers see solar panels as a steady source of income, especially during tough times. Others feel it disrupts their identity and the agricultural community.

Despite the opposition, President Joe Biden’s administration aims to shift to renewable energy as a part of their commitment to achieving net zero. Solar energy is a crucial component of this plan, and delays caused by protests may impact the administration’s timeline for achieving its goals.

The Missouri Farm Bureau has taken a neutral stance on the issue, saying it is ultimately up to individual landowners to decide whether or not to lease their land for solar panel installation. The organization has encouraged farmers to do their research before making a decision, including seeking advice from legal and financial professionals.

The debate over solar panels is not unique to Missouri. Across the country, there have been concerns about the impact of solar installations on local communities. Some studies have shown that solar farms can lead to a decrease in property values. However, other studies have suggested that solar farms can actually increase property values, particularly in areas with high energy costs.

Ultimately, the decision to install solar panels should be made based on the specific circumstances of each community. While there may be some valid concerns about the impact of solar installations, renewable energy is an important part of the fight against climate change. As such, it is vital that we find ways to address the concerns of those who are opposed to solar panels while still moving forward with our commitments to a more sustainable future.

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