Linkwood Solar Farm Project Moves Ahead - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Linkwood Solar Farm Project Moves Ahead

LINKWOOD, Md.- There are those who are happy to see more green energy, and those who are concerned about looking out the windows of their homes at a field of solar panels. Soon, an 85 acre solar farm will be installed in Linkwood.

It is an empty field today, but soon it will be home to 62,000 environmentally friendly solar panels. Bryce Smith, CEO of One Energy Renewables, the Seattle-based company that will be installing these panels, says the community will benefit.

"It's a utility scale solar project on about 85 acres, 15 megawatts or so," he explained. "It will generate electricity for 1,500 to 2,000 homes on average."

That energy will be put into the local grid, while a portion of the additional energy generated will be sold wholesale to buyers as far away as Chicago.

But some neighbors, like Pete Robbins, say it will be an eyesore despite a 50-foot buffer of vegetation.

"When the vegetation or the trees get high enough that it can't be seen from here, I'm not going to be able to see it anyway, I'm going to be long gone," said Robbins.

He is also concerned about what happens when neighbors try to sell their homes in the coming years.

"They'll be able to find a buyer, but it's not going to be easy," Robbins said. "There's gonna be many many prospects that aren't going to like what's next to it."

Contrary to some concerns that the county could be covered in solar panels before long, Smith says that is not the case.

"The state has a pretty aggressive solar renewable energy standard, so that limits the number that will be built. So we don't anticipate dozens and dozens and dozens of these projects."

While this project moves ahead, some citizens say they may be contacting the county council to prevent future solar farms in Dorchester County.

While the number of people opposed to this project greatly outnumbered the supporters Thursday night, the board of zoning appeals said the time to fight this issue was in 2011, when the county commissioners passed a law allowing solar farms to be built in agricultural areas.

A number of concerns about the solar farm were addressed at Thursday night's board of zoning appeals meeting by the company, One Energy Renewables.

Some neighbors to the farm are worried about electromagnetic fields that are generated by the inverters. But the company said it would be the equivalent of standing directly next to a television.

Noise was another concern. The company said noise at the inverter is 80 decibels, but will be silent alongside the perimeter of the field.

The company also said the panels will not impact any endangered species in the area like bald eagles.

Construction time is predicted to take 6 months, but no start date has been set yet.

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