Grandview residents host public forum to discuss issues with Raleigh Solar Farm

GRANDVIEW, WV (WOAY) – Some Grandview residents are unhappy with a solar farm planned for the area.

For months, Raleigh County has been working with Dakota Power to bring a solar farm to the Grandview area. Although this project has a lot of promising details, there are many residents concerned with the concept.

Dozens of citizens joined for a public meeting to discuss the issues they have.

According to Shannon Honaker, one of the concerned citizens, one factor they have issues with is the change in scenery. They’re worried the solar panels will affect the local view, and potential tourism growth. 

“One of the main effects would be the property value would be a huge decrease in value with people not wanting to live in this area because of the solar farm. As soon as you drive into Grandview, it would be a huge eyesore,” Honaker said. 

Another thing they’re worried about is the hazardous materials used in solar panel construction like lead and cadmium. These materials are mostly harmless while the solar panels are in use, but become an issue when they reach the end of their lifetime. 

“We also feel that there’s a lot of contaminants that are made up in these solar panels if leached into the ground by either landfills or by destruction of the panels.”

It’s estimated that the Raleigh Solar Farm will have a minimum 30 year lifespan, and Dakota Power claims they can recycle a majority of the solar panels’ components. They also claim that the project will not result in any water pollution, but residents are still concerned about the decommission process. Currently, they want to find legal representation to take things to the next level.

“Our only option at this point is to appeal this decision with the circuit court. So we are looking into finding an attorney that will do the appeal for us and take it as far as necessary to get it stopped.”

Another concerned resident speaks on issues with the solar farm project.
 

Another key issue the residents have is with the potential jobs that will be created. Dakota Power estimates there to be between 150-200 local jobs created, but residents want to know if the positions will be filled by out-of-state workers or locals.

Also on their list of grievances is the location. They claim it would be better for the solar farm to be placed somewhere far from a residential area, such as an abandoned lot or industrial zone.

The concerned residents of Grandview have started a coalition called Citizens Group. They’ve started a petition which has garnered dozens of signatures, and plan to seek legal council soon to submit an appeal.

This isn’t the first time residents have raised issues with the solar farm. Just last week, the Raleigh County Board of Zoning held a meeting and heard plenty of concerns from locals.

Citizens Group has 30 days to file an appeal and potentially halt the solar farm’s progress. The group also claims they are pro-renewable energy, but aren’t happy with the logistics of the Raleigh Solar Farm.

The next steps for the solar farm project are for Raleigh Solar to submit their stormwater application, finalize the design of the site, and then start construction.