Montour County residents push back against solar array

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DANVILLE, MONTOUR COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Montour County residents are speaking out about plans to begin the construction of a large solar farm outside Danville.

Locals in Danville say they’re opposed to the mass construction of the solar panels on previously tillable land. They say the proposed energy farm would prove detrimental to local agriculture and affect much of the area’s natural beauty.

“And all that’s gonna be fragmented by these solar panels, in which the wildlife and the natural settings are all going to dissipate, disappear,” said Sam Burleigh, a Danville resident.

The plans to construct the one thousand acre solar farm are led by Talen Energy and Pattern Energy. It would become the largest such solar farm in the state, in the commonwealth’s smallest county.

“Most of us are in favor of solar energy, and green energy. But at what cost do we have to pay to have it,” Burleigh said.

Proposed construction would begin in fields adjacent to Talen Energy’s coal-burning Montour Power Plant.

Burleigh says he’s for renewable energy sources, but isn’t sold on the altruism of large energy companies — preferring panels to remain on private land.

“They sell the energy onto the grid, which is income. And then they get to go around and boast that they’re green energy companies and so on.”

But plans to start construction don’t appear to be imminent. Montour County’s Planning and Human Services director Greg Molter says if and when all requirements are met by the companies, he’ll work with residents to alleviate potential concerns.

“And then it’s up to us to try and come up with guidelines that will make it not only suitable for you, but suitable for your neighbors and the community. And in the best interest of everybody.”

Molter says he can assure local taxpayers no plans will be rubber stamped.

“We’re taking concerned citizens feedback, and it’s going to be a matter of putting it all together in the best suitable manner, to do the job we have to do.”

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