Proposed solar bylaws in Deerfield

Published: 6/10/2021 9:28:07 AM

There is a gold rush happening in Massachusetts. The gold is sunlight, the mines are the land the light falls on. Energy from solar power has passed the tipping point of being cheaper than fossil fuels. It also has the benefit of predictability. The cost of electrical generation from fossil fuels varies with the cost of those fuels. Build a solar array, though, and you have already paid for all the fuel it will ever use.

Big business has taken notice. Towns will be well served by establishing ground rules to protect themselves from potential downsides of this new wild west of solar development.

Solar development is good, even necessary. But so is some regulation. Deerfield’s Planning Board is wisely revising town bylaws to add some rules and protections regarding solar energy.

The new bylaws will help us guide development toward appropriate spaces (such as parking lot canopies or brownfields) and minimize negative impacts. In any boom, moreover, there are busts. Deerfield risks gettting stuck with the cost of decommissioning old arrays or with legal and other expenses should builders go bankrupt.

Please vote yes at Deerfield’s Town eeting to accept the Planning Board’s proposed new solar bylaws.

David Gilbert Keith



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