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Letter: Reader poses fire safety concerns that come with solar farms

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I am writing to voice fire safety concerns about massive 10-plus square mile solar parks.

With 13-plus square miles of panels how could the fire department ever get access to fight a fire. CEL&P has had fires involving more than 40 DC to AC inverters and has had to physically cut power lines to stop panels from feeding power to inverters.

As long as the sun is up, the panels continue to feed the fire. With dry and windy conditions like this summer and fall an inverter fire would race across dry grasses. Then, with little to no buffer areas to act as fire breaks, jump into surrounding cornfields endangering people, their homes, barns and livestock.

What would they use to fight such a fire? Some have suggested aerial water drops. Water is not used to put out an electrical fire. I don’t think the county wants to buy a plane and all associated expenses either.

We would need to have solar companies put up a trust fund/grant to pay for fire training including how to cut power and use special equipment to apply the chemical fire suppressant. Fire lanes would have to be spaced throughout the entire field to give firefighters access. This fund would need to cover all associated costs with built in adjustments for inflation and actual supplies used over the 35-year time period.

Lastly, who would be financially liable if someone had a loss of home, barn, livestock or worse, loss of life? I think a lawyer would go after all involved the original builder, current corporate owner of panel field, the land owner and possibly the county.

Brian Sillery

Ladoga

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