By Linda Bishop, Findlay
The Toledo Zoo parking lot solar array is a perfect example of how and where solar panels should be placed to get double duty out of an area that is necessary, but not beautiful.
In western Ohio, 84 or more solar installations of about 1,000 acres each are being planned. This means that 84,000 acres that will be taken out of farm production. This will change the landscape of western Ohio for upwards of 50 years depending upon the lease terms which are non-negotiable upon signing.
The land agents use less than honest tactics to get land from owners, first by choosing out of area owners, then the elderly within the area. If they sign a deal with the solar company, there is a confidentiality clause in the contract so opposing neighbors will not find out. The impact to neighbors needs to be considered when rural neighbors will find their properties completely surrounded by solar panels.
People who live in townships must go by zoning rules for building or making other changes to their property, but the solar companies are exempt because of a 2008 rule by the Strickland administration, which took the power away from the township trustees. Recently SB 52 passed which gives more authority to the county commissioners.
The financial benefiting entities including schools, townships, and counties will be short lived when new technologies change solar. The tax paying public needs to be aware that they will be responsible for more taxes should the money be overspent on building projects and etc.
When something sounds too good to be true, buyer beware! Promote wise land use instead.