Writer questions weed control methods of proposed solar farms


I am writing related to the Jan. 12, 2019, front page article entitled, “Two Solar Farms Proposed for PC.”

I would like to request that Open Roads Renewables LLC, the company planning to contruct these two farms, provide information to us or hold an open town meeting to review the plans for addressing weed control at these farms and the potential for herbicide run off that will impact local lakes and streams, including Lake Lakengreen and the lake at Houston Woods.

Solar farms are generally considered a “green” resource with little environmental impact. However, solar panels only capture a limited amount of light for only about 5 hours of the day. The rest of that solar energy will pass through to the ground. As a result grasses, broadleaf weeds, and eventually woody shrubs will grow. There are generally three ways that solar farms can deal with this unwanted vegetation: herbicides, mowing, or ground cover or a combination of these.

High rates of herbicides, use of mulches, rock, or plastic will all have negative impacts on the land from herbicide residues, as well as particles of damaged panels left in the soil resulting in contamination from heavy metals used in solar panels. Will the water run off end up in our lakes and streams and add to the algae bloom problem that we are already facing in Ohio and beyond? It would be good to know in advance of construction if there is a plan to address unwanted vegetation and if so, what is the potential impact of the plan on our valuable resources. What herbicides will be used at what timing and rate? What is the potential impact to our lakes and streams?

Cathy Spencer