“State Senator Ned Claxton said it started with several farmers from Androscoggin County raising concerns about solar farms.
They weren’t objecting to solar energy itself, he said, but did express worry that the state’s best farmland could be taken over by large banks of solar panels.
“If you drive by a big farm with big fields next to it, they’ve been offered a chance to put solar there, I can pretty much guarantee,” Claxton said Thursday.
He is asking the Legislature to direct the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to study the growth of demand for new solar sites, and recommend how to ensure that prime farmland is not lost to new solar development.
“Because they have been approached by solar installers looking to put up good-sized arrays,” said Caxton, referring to the farmers.
He added that farmers said solar developers typically wanted to use the best land, close to the road and were not as interested in more marginal farm land that might be harder to reach.
He said that’s the concern farmers raised: that the best land could be lost to agriculture and food production if more large solar arrays take it over.”
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Carrigan, Don. News Center Main 1 April 2021.