Marianne Peters, Director of the Marshall County Solid Management Waste District gave the Board of Directors her perspective on the proposed solar projects in the county during their meeting Monday. 

Peters said wanted to speak up because she has attended 3 or 4 solar meetings throughout the county in the last month or so. She has solar panels at the Recycle depot, has studied solar panels, and reads the trade magazines that talk about solar panels and scrap.

Her first bit of advice is to consider your sources and their sources and get up-to-date information.  She said, “Some of the information I’m hearing from people in opposition to solar in Marshall County, their people I know and people that I respect and know they are good people but some of their information is old. Some of it is out of date.  Some of it is just plain funny.”  An example given was glare. “There is no glare, that’s a non-issue.”  She went on to say, “Solar panels and EV batteries are getting recycled in Indiana.  They are getting recycled by the company that we send our light bulbs and batteries to.  So recycling is happening.”

Another comment was the impact on wildlife from solar panels.  Peters said “Wildlife is not harmed by solar panels.  I can say that because I’ve had to remove Robin’s nests from the inverters on my solar panels.”  She said it can be more of a loss of habitat. Quoting the Audubon Society Peters said, “Wildlife is harmed by climate change.  It is not harmed by solar energy.”  

The second recommendation for the Solid Waste Director was to trust your safety personnel.  Marianne said, “The people that we have fighting our fires are trained to fight fires at solar and battery installations.  These are technologies that have been around for years.  Our people know how to take care of those technologies and fight those fires.” 

Thirdly Peters said to beware of meaningless additions to perfectly acceptable ordinances. One example she gave was the requirement of Safety Data Sheets.  Marianne said, “That is ridiculous.  Anyone with an opposable thumb can look up a safety data sheet. You can just get on the internet and find them.  That’s just a meaningless thing to add to an ordinance.” 

The final recommendation to the Board of Directors was, “Consider the environment as well as future investment.  There really is a good reason to consider renewable energy because of the environment and because it reduces our dependence on fossil fuels which is why we are having these issues of weather with the climate right now.”

Marianne Peters closed her comments on solar saying, “I’d like to see Marshal County do our part.  I’d like to see us be part of that renewable energy landscape.  That’s something that means a lot to people in the county.  It means a lot to businesses that want to grow and want to have that kind of feel to say some of our energy is green energy.”  She continued, “I just think it’s really important.  There’s a risk to doing new things but there’s a risk to not doing new things too.”