OK, so as a South County resident it is getting far past the tipping point of asking the question of just how much energy are we actually producing with the embarrassingly excessive amount of solar panels, everywhere.
If the answer to that question is, "enough to power Rhode Island," I think it is imperative to ask the question, Do we really need an industrial solar park, the largest in New England, and a power plant in Burrillville?
I am for solar energy, but can’t help but feel that the town of Hopkinton is being taken advantage of and is underselling the value of its land. Especially after that beach boom of Westerly hit Hopkinton, where median household value rose $100,000 in the past couple of years.
As a South County resident, I am opposed to the new proposed solar fields because if you take a drive around the Hope Valley area, anyone can see that the rural character of the land has certainly already been compromised by the amount solar panels around town that seem to pop up overnight. At the rate that technology moves, it’s safe to assume that those panels might be outdated in 10 years, but yet the Hopkinton Town Council keeps raffling off the town’s land with little regard to the opposition of its citizens, which is wrong. Although I do not have the answer to this, I would say that the amount of solar panels we already have could power most of the state — and the town wants to add 300 more acres!
For this reason, I call upon the media in the area to ask important questions of just how much energy is already being produced in South County versus how much will be produced after the solar park, how much energy does the state need, how much are these out-of-state companies going to make on our land — which is really valuable by the way. And if the town loses power for a week from a blizzard, will the panels be beneficial? If not, then what is the point of having them?
I mean, we’re talking about using energy from the sun. I feel every citizen should feel its benefits, not just the companies installing these panels. As of now, each of the approximately 8,000 citizens in Hopkinton will get $30, as the solar panels are set to bring the town $250,000. Seems like an awful small amount per citizen to sell out the rural character of the area, especially one as valuable as South County.