Home News-Free Should farmland be used as solar panel sites?

Should farmland be used as solar panel sites?

By Frank Kidd
LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE–The House Agriculture Committee advanced a resolution to create a task
force to study the impact of using farmland for solar energy developments.

House Concurrent Resolution 45, written by Rep. Phillip DeVillier, R-Eunice, stated that the
Louisiana Solar Siting Task Force would “study the impact of, and alternatives to, locating solar
energy developments on farmland.”

The discussion featured Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, expressing his concern that solar
farms would destroy more jobs than they would create and that the task force would be filled by
members with ties to the solar farming industry.

Rep. Vincent St. Blanc III, R-Franklin, responded that the task force’s job would be to protect
farmers from making costly mistakes. He noted that many farmers’ decisions to lease land for
large installations of solar panels did not pan out.

The resolution is the latest action to try to control or limit where solar panels are located.
Previous legislative measures sought to suspended tax incentives and other public financial
support for certain utility-scale solar projects.

International energy experts say that the world is gradually reducing its use of oil and gas and
shifting to greater use of renewable fuels like solar and wind power. To capture new jobs, other
oil and gas states, like Texas and Oklahoma, have provided more incentives for alternative
energy projects than Louisiana has.

But farmers in Louisiana say they cannot pay as much as big utility companies to lease land, and
some local officials say there are few jobs at the solar farms after they are built.

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