Town's Fear of Solar Farms Is an Internet Sensation

Especially one guy's concern about panels sucking up all the sun's energy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2015 10:15 AM CST
Town's Fear of Solar Farms Is an Internet Sensation
File photo of solar panels.   (Ryan Stanton/Ann Arbor News via AP)

The town of Woodland, North Carolina, is taking a drubbing online after its town council not only shot down a proposed solar farm but put a moratorium on future similar projects. It wasn't the mere rejection, however, that's drawing ridicule but some of the comments made by local residents during the comment period as rounded up by the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. The big one: A man voiced concern that "solar farms would suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not come to Woodland," in the words of the newspaper. "You’re killing your town," he told planning officials. "All the young people are going to move out." A retired science teacher also worried that solar farms would interfere with photosynthesis and result in dead plants around town, and might even cause cancer.

"I want to know what's going to happen," she said. "I want information." A representative from the company that floated the proposal assured everyone that solar panels make use only of the sunlight that hits them directly and "don’t draw additional sunlight," but the nays still won the day. (The News-Herald notes that the town council had previously given the green light to three other solar farms.) The story is now generating not-so-flattering headlines all over. A post at Science Alert begins, "Wow" and hopes that "increased exposure and better education" about solar power will help. Ars Technica, meanwhile, looks at satellite images to question one resident's contention that solar farms were becoming a nuisance in the area, while newspapers in the the UK and as far away as Australia are joining in to snigger at the idea of solar panels sucking up all the sun's energy. (Long solar-powered flights are possible, but self-hypnosis helps as a pilot.)

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