The residents of Woodland, North Carolina, have rejected plans to build a solar farm in their town because the solar panels would ‘suck up all the energy from the sun and plants would not grow.’ The most disconcerting part is that this patently absurd objection came from a retired science teacher.
The theory behind solar panels is simple and obvious; they intercept rays from the sun and convert the light energy into power that is then used to lower electricity bills and prevent fossil fuels being burned to create the same electricity. The net result is an environmentally friendly and renewable power source that can heat homes, power lights and with a large enough installation a solar farm could potentially power a small town.
Retired science teacher Jane Mann disagreed, however. Her objection was based on the fact that solar panels would deny light to the plant life directly behind them, which would, admittedly, prevent the plants photosynthesising and cause them to die off. Then Mann went off on a tangent, claiming a link between solar panels and cancer that simply has no basis in science.
The townspeople rallied round this objection and the solar farm was denied planning permission with a vote of three to one. The local council also ordered a moratorium on any further plans for solar farms in the area, which is a blow to the environmental movement as the town has a substation that could, theoretically, link directly to the national grid.
So now Woodland’s power will be supplied by the electrical substation, that is in turn powered by fossil-fuels, which have a longstanding link to cancer deaths.
The misinformation surrounding this decision beggars belief and it is up to the solar industry, which counts the likes of Elon Musk among its champions in the US, to educate the public about the benefits of solar power and the obvious costs of producing electricity the old-fashioned way.
The rest of the world, meanwhile, is moving towards a cleaner, greener future, with solar panels and solar photovoltaic power. Woodland, North Carolina, might live to regret this decision.