Myths and Facts about Solar Energy
North Carolina is home to a thriving solar industry that now ranks second in the nation for installed solar capacity. You have probably seen these large, utility-scale ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) systems, commonly referred to as solar farms, around the state. Solar farms are typically 35 acres or more and generate over 5 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the electrical grid, similar to the way a traditional power plant would operate. In comparison, a solar PV system installed on your home is usually around 5 kilowatts (kW) or 1,000 times less power generated than a utility-scale system. A typical land lease for a solar farm is 20 to 25 years, and because the panels are not attached to any water system or other equipment, at the end of the lease, the land can be restored to its original purpose.
Despite the many economic and environmental benefits of solar energy, there are still some misconceptions circulating around. Below are some commonly asked questions and responses that explain why solar energy is a great opportunity for North Carolina. Links to information sources are also included.
Click the Myths to learn the Facts
Clean energy jobs, like in solar, are just temporary.
Tax payers lose millions of dollars to solar farms, as they are subsidized in order for utility companies to sell electricity at generous low rates.
Once land is used for solar farming, it is highly unlikely it will ever be farmed again.
You could be stuck with the cost of decommissioning these solar farms
There is no community benefit with clean energy like solar.
Solar panels drive down property values.
Solar panels are made out of toxic materials.
Solar Energy is reaching its 'peak' in North Carolina, therefore there is no reason to invest in something that is projected to not grow.
Fossil Fuel costs are low, therefore there is no need to invest in other clean technologies for electricity.
Installed solar is land intensive.
Solar PV leaks radiation that can contaminate your drinking water and cause various deadly diseases
Are there any risks from electric and magnetic fields?
Research has not shown a causal link between exposure to electromagnetic fields and potential cancer. In addition, an international commission has set an upward limit of 2000 mG, far higher than EMF level in or near solar facilities. New York has set a 200 mG level at right of ways near electric transmission lines. It is not likely that solar facilities will expose people to EMF that has a health risk.
Health and Safety Impacts of Solar Photovoltiacs
There are a lot of myths and half-truths about health impacts of solar photvoltaics (PV) out there. If you are concerned about your health and safety, read this informative article from the NC Clean Energy Technology Center.
Balancing Agricultural Productivity with Ground-Based Solar
Photovoltaic (PV) Development
Given that land and climatic conditions suitable for agriculture are finite, solar development may compete with agricultural land use. One use converts sunlight and fertilizer into food and fiber, while the other converts sunlight into electricity. To learn more about the balancing of agricultural productivity and ground-based solar photovoltaic (PV) development read this in depth discussion.