I’m writing as a concerned Hopkinton resident. I was raised in Ashaway, and in 2003 my husband and I purchased a home in Voluntown, Conn. In 2010, I convinced my husband to move back to my hometown to raise our two children. We took all of our savings and bought our beautiful house in Hope Valley. We were drawn to this rural area because of its farmlands, tons of hiking in Arcadia, and it’s small-town feel. Our home sits on almost 4 acres with a pond that was put in by the Army Corps of Engineers. We now have four children who love to fish in the pond and play sports in our backyard. They would much rather be out there catching frogs and getting muddy than to be inside on electronics. We love to watch the deer run across the yard, the ducks use our pond to raise their ducklings, and there’s an otter that loves to come clean out our fish and frogs from our pond.
On March 25, my family attended a town council meeting where a profit-driving development company from Providence proposed a 172-acre commercial solar manufacturing facility abutting my property. They want to install 70,000 solar panels with a utility-scale substation for this gigantic solar project directly behind the yard my children play in. We were blown away by the enormity of this proposed project. The Hopkinton Planning Board turned down this proposal, yet now it’s wasting tax dollars on meeting after meeting trying to convince our town council to change this land from residential to commercial so that they can proceed.
We have many concerns about these panels going in our backyard. There’s data to show that prolonged exposure to elevated EMF is proven to increase cancer rates. What would our children be exposed to each time they go outside to play? The marketability and the value of our property is going to drop significantly. Who wants to live with thousands of solar panels in their backyard! The project calls for deforestation of the majority of the 172 acres. Flooding of our pond and adjacent yards is likely to occur due to the two streams that flow from that property to wetlands adjacent to our neighborhood. They will treat the undergrowth beneath the panels with chemicals to keep it from growing which will contaminate our streams, pond, and wells that we drink from.
These solar panels have ruined this once beautiful town and has divided a community. We all want our taxes to be lowered, but turning our town into a sea of solar panels is NOT the way to do it. There are currently 171.5 acres of approved solar panels in Hopkinton alone. Thirteen more projects are being proposed with a total of 401.14 acres. Everywhere you drive in this once-country setting, there are now solar panels or panels going in. We as citizens who came to this area to live a country quality of life feel like we have no voice or means of defense to stop this solar sprawl benefiting out-of-town profiteers.
I am a very unhappy resident of the new Solar City (formerly known as Hopkinton City) in Rhode Island.