East New Market Citizens Concerned About Solar Farm Project - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

East New Market Citizens Concerned About Solar Farm Project

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The map of the proposed solar farm (Photo:William Tyndall) The map of the proposed solar farm (Photo:William Tyndall)

EAST NEW MARKET, Md.- A newly-proposed solar farm that would provide 20 megawatts of clean renewable energy to the grid has some people in Dorchester County worried over just how vast the project will be.

The fields around East New Market are green and brown.  Next year, they could be blue with the color of solar panels.  Thousands of them are planned for the fields around Linkwood Road.  The company One Energy Renewables is behind the proposal.  Neighbors there are positive about the prospect of solar.

"We understand renewable energy and it is the way of the future, and it is definitely the way to go for our area," said William Tyndall of East New Market.

WBOC spoke with neighbors at a Dorchester County Council meeting because they are concerned about this project.

"I understand the need for solar and I respect that, but to have 180 acres out your front and your back door, and the company offer to tint the windows in our home to enter the glare, it's a bit scary," said Tracy Whitby-Fairall of East New Market.

There would be a lot of glare, because according to the map laying out the plan, the solar farm would surround several homes on the edge of town.

"They have told one of my neighbors that solar panels will be 189 feet from his back door.  They will be in front of us, they will be beside us, there will be a substation that will generate a significant amount of power," said Whitby-Fairall.

One Energy says the most visible part of the solar farm would be hidden from view by fencing and screening.

"There are some homes there that people are looking at as their lifetime investments.  Now they are looking at losing the values of the homes dropping in that area," said Tyndall.

The neighbors want to ensure solar does not consume much of the county.

"The tag line for farmers has been no farms, no food, no future.  If we continue down this path, there will be no farms, there will be no food, and there will be no future," said Whitby-Fairall.

Whether the future holds solar panels remains to be seen.

One Energy Renewables said it plans to plant native pollinator plants underneath the panels, creating a new ecosystem while also reducing agricultural runoff. It plans to have permits by late this year, but Dorchester County Manager Jeremy Goldman said that is an "optimistic goal" considering all the steps they have to go through for approval.

Neighbors say they are open to having a solar farm; they just believe it needs to be set farther back from homes and the road.

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