Residential solar farms face growing opposition

By Monica Wolfson, Windsor Star
Despite growing opposition to ground-mounted solar projects in residential neighbourhoods, the province has yet to act on pleas to intervene. County council and municipalities across the province have asked the province for a moratorium on ground-mounted solar farm development in residential subdivisions. A new cabinet was sworn in Thursday with Chris Bentley as the new minister of energy.

“It’s very urgent,” Lakeshore Deputy Mayor Al Fazio said. “The real estate market is slow and developers are taking advantage of the solar panel industry. It’s not fair. It affects the value of the homes.”

For a variety of reasons the Green Energy Act was a contentious issue during the recent provincial election. The Progressive Conservatives vowed to yank the law, while Liberals defended some of its most controversial elements, including provisions that allow solar project construction without oversight by municipalities.

Lawyer and developer Paul Mullins is building another solar project in Belle River on property he’s owned since the 1970s. Residents complained about his last project, which consisted of 44 ground-mounted solar panels in Duck Creek Park Estates. Mullins said Wednesday the new project on County Road 2 is smaller, although he didn’t provide details. There is an unfinished subdivision neighbouring the property as well as homes along County Road 2 that have large lots. He said he won’t move ahead with the project until he gets permission to hook up to the electricity grid.

County Road 2 resident Greg Iler said he supports green energy, but “it has to be in the right place and across the street (from me) isn’t the right place.

“If it was out behind me in a farmer’s field, I wouldn’t care. It’s going to be right in my face, in front of my house, as long as I live and that’s wrong.”

Andrew Block, spokesman for the Ontario Minister of Energy, said the province has a strong commitment to getting off coal.

“We are pleased with how far we’ve gone with that and look forward to implementing that further,” Block said.

Newly elected NDP MPP Taras Natyshak, who won’t be sworn in until Oct. 27, said he’ll be raising the issue in the legislature at the first opportunity.

“This type of set up should be in a rural area, not in a town,” he said. “It’s plain wrong and not fair. Homeowners need some compensation at least.”

21 thoughts on “Residential solar farms face growing opposition

  1. That attitude is exactly why rural Ontario voted PC. People are fed up with being dumped on. Once urban areas get ground mounted solar and wind turbines they will wake up.

  2. Both Al Fazio and Taras Natyshak were very pro-wind when the County was getting inunduated with industrial turbines.

    Neither would lift a finger to help those families confronted with 500 ft turbines near their homes.

    Hypocrites.

    • duuuuh… “This type of set up should be in a rural area, not in a town”. Yes, on that good soil that feeds you urbanites. And McGuilty doens’t want the province to be ‘divisive’….

  3. Soooooo – it’s OK if they’re set up across from my farmhouse but not their house in the subdivision? Sounds like true NIMBYISM on Natyshak and Fazio’s part to me. The rest of us are opposed to turbines, etc in ANY backyard based on substantial reasons like health, effectiveness and cost. I still wouldn’t count on Natyshak and Fazio for help for any of the rest of us who are experiencing difficulties.

  4. Windsor has plenty of vacant industrial sites where IWTs and solar panels could be installed. The cost of transmission could be greatly reduced.

  5. Oh really? What makes that surburbanite think these developments are any more attractive to look at across the street some the same farmers homes? So now it is in THEIR backyard (front yard in this case). Glad urbanites are taking notice. A big turbine would certain get their ire!

  6. Rob, do hope the link you provided is for IWT lovers and promoters!

    • Sorry, directed towards Both Al Fazio and Taras Natyshak , IPC, NRWC, Liberal Party both Federal and Provincial, mayor Hewitt, all other factions of wind proponent…..behalf of all wildlife affected killed nd maimed…..oh ya Mark Bell even his alias derekm and any others I may have ommitted , my appologies..NOT

  7. Hey , it’s a job for them, and there are huge dollars to take out of peoples pockets.
    It’s just business , nothing personal

  8. surprised Hewitt hasn’t been taken to court yet for obvious conflict of interest.
    You can’t be mayor , have a job in the financial planning sector and start promoting IWTs in your area.
    If you sell investments and any are in Power….it is what it is.
    Using your office for personal gain…not much grey area there.

  9. The opposite of Rural Nimby

    Residential Nimfy……….Not in my front yard!

  10. Just a sample vote tally from Amherst Island, where far and away the main issue was the pending wind turbines. The pc candidate, Randy Hillier, who promised to do everything he could to stop the project (especially if the PC’s carried the province) beat out the Liberal candidate by a vote of 120 to 76.

  11. “Andrew Block, spokesman for the Ontario Minister of Energy, said the province has a strong commitment to getting off coal.”
    How is this considered a reply?! Get a new recording!

  12. We are the Province.
    We also have a strong commitment to have government do what we want them to do.
    Follow the money. and interconnected relationships from start to finish.
    And the truth shall set rural Ontario Free.
    Who is behind this?
    Where did it start ?
    Why did this start ?
    And who is making a lot of money.?
    It has nothing to do with clean air , because we must use coal or gas.
    It has a lot to do with NAFTA and the boys who , under NAFTA deregulated Ontario Hydro
    Once a great public utility than ran as a provincial utility…but the energy people were not making a profit
    So you cut it down , make constant negative statements, always say it costs too much , employees get paid too much ,do not work hard , stop maintaining it by cutting funding so they look bad , and wear the public confidence dow, After a few years …everyone is saying what they want you to say.
    PR work at it’s best.
    The same is now happening in healthcare here in Canada…Demonizing , destroying the confidence of our system , , always negative news …so you can be sold private health insurance and hospitals can run like they do in the USA.
    Point is ,what fool would want a system that overcharges you for a product?
    3 times for wind and 15 times more for solar.
    What fool would sign long term deals paying power producers these kinds of rates?
    Even the people that came up with and signed these agreements wouldn’t buy a product at these prices.
    So,
    When this all started , who began taking part ,, where did they come from , and has benefitted?
    Paul Martin went down for far less than what is happening with Alternate Energy.
    It just comes at people in small doses in Ontario.
    Eco Groups , Lobby Firms , lawyers , investors , the UN , and insiders ..are creating jobs with an industry that doesn’t work.. In order to provide power from wind you have to keep putting more and more in , in hopes that sooner or later there are enough to supply some form of reliable power. At 3 times present rates. And of course to redirect the focus away from Ontario being handed over to the for profit energy business , they talk about coal.
    We can shut down coal and use any form of energy.
    And not be charged 3 to 15 times more for a product..
    Start showing the gravy train and who is benefitting..you will get city attention.

    Ernest Horvath
    Coalition for Ethical Government

  13. I wish I could find a photo (but I can’t)…there is a solar panel the size of a billboard on the FRONT LAWN of a modest single story home on a quiet residential street in Sudbury, Ontario. It is mounted on black metal poles sunk into the lawn and is oriented (in a fixed position) towards the south. It’s almost vertical and the back of the panel is not more than ten or twelve feet from the sidewalk. The owner was quoted as saying the FIT contract is such a good deal, he doesn’t understand why everyone isn’t doing it. The city has no control over the placement of this installation due to the Green Energy Act.

  14. What a bunch of NIMBYs; shame on them. Do they think that people who choose to live in the countryside for it’s natural beauty want to look at solar panels???

    • I grew up an urbanite, moved to rural Ontario. First couple of years said to myself “what have I done” winter seems twice as long, driving is trecherous in winter….water trucked in and sky high taxes for little service.
      Would not think of leaving now, absolutely love it. They picked the fight. We will win if we stick together.

  15. Funny, during the election this issue came up, the liberal candidate was on TV saying the rules had been changed so this couldn’t happen again. He obviously lied.

  16. When people chose to live in a rural area they do so to avoid noise, pollution, crowded conditions, heavy traffic, etc. We enjoy the enviroment we have chosen. To walk a pristine field , to welcome back my hummingbirds in the spring, to watch the deer winter in a cedar bush next to my house. My neighbours ride horses on our country road and have sleighrides on winter days. Four 10mw solar energy fields have been planned for my area. This will bring a production of 40,000,000 kw. of power into a small area . Another site close to here POLLUTED WELLS because of drilling boreholes to hold panels. Ground water will be disrupted, animal habitat will be changed or gone, thousands of trees cut down or will have their roots damaged so they will die! There is no emergency measures plan in place in case of bush/grass fires, lightning strikes etc, moving into these dangerous sites! Am I worried ? Absolutely. Anyone who thinks these solar fields belong in a rural area is a very uncaring self-centered individual.

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