More than a few community members have joined local Facebook groups and started organizing against a proposed solar project in Shawnee slated to begin in 2021, as detailed in The Lima News story, Nov. 9, 2020: “Solar Farm Opposed: Not In My Back Yard.” While I understand the concerns, I would like to offer a different perspective and approach.
The Birch Solar team has been working extensively with Shawnee landowners and farmers to develop a clean energy facility on their land. They have put an enormous amount of time and effort into talking with community members and listening to our concerns. They intend to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into our community’s future, which will significantly boost tax revenue to local schools. All in all, this project will create local jobs, clean up our energy grid, and bring exciting new technologies to Northwest Ohio.
According to the company, if there is a need for clean energy—and willing landowners—a project will happen. As a community, we should be proud to work with the Birch Solar team to ensure a clean energy future for our home. Attempts to derail the project, in addition to attacking the personal integrity of fellow community members, does not accurately reflect our values. In fact, I was frankly embarrassed that our community treated people the way they did at the hearing.
We all know that energy and agriculture have been vital parts of Allen County’s rich history. We’ve been leaders in these areas before, and we can do it again. I think we owe it to the next generation to engage with Birch Solar in a meaningful way and explore the possible benefits of a clean energy future with the help of our farmers.
Richard Deubler, Shawnee Township