Monday, June 24, 2024

Greenfield Recorder – Erik Hoffner: Photo voltaic panels not a very good use of farmland


A field of solar panels on West Bay Road in Amherst.

A discipline of photo voltaic panels on West Bay Road in Amherst.

As an environmental reporter who has coated vitality and agriculture points for a few years now for information retailers starting from Grist to The Guardian and, I can guarantee Recorder readers that the assertion of engineering professor at UMass about establishing photo voltaic vitality initiatives on farms lacks sufficient context. [“Moratoriums on large-scale solar, battery storage approved at Town Meeting,” Recorder, May 8].

It isn’t a helpful comparability to make between rising corn for ethanol versus utilizing the identical land to host photo voltaic arrays, as a result of producing ethanol from corn is inefficient and local weather damaging. solution to make gasoline: see the 2022 Reuters article “US corn-based ethanol worse for local weather than gasoline, examine finds” for background, however in my common view Well, photo voltaic arrays ought to be positioned on land that isn’t appropriate for agriculture, reminiscent of brownfields, roofs, and on prime of parking heaps.

The native farm is a crucial facet of the steadiness of the communities within the Valley, our lands are the best, and it doesn’t make a lot sense to cowl most of them with photo voltaic arrays, thus making the residents extra depending on the product shipped right here from California. , for instance, the place most of our meals comes from at sure instances of the 12 months. Farm households clearly have to make a revenue from their land, however one wonders if there are higher methods ahead that may guarantee a gentle provide of inexperienced electrons to the native grid, and a steady that many native meals from thriving farms.

Erik Hoffner


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