Proposed solar farm concerns rural Central Texas residents

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 10:26 PM CST
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CRAWFORD, Texas (KWTX) - OCI Solar Power, a solar farm company based out of San Antonio, is facing pushback from the Crawford community for a proposed solar farm just outside the city limits.

Mark Perry and dozens of residents voiced their concerns over the proposed $115 million solar farm at their local school district’s board meeting Wednesday night. Perry claims he was offered money to give away some of his land for the project.

“They sent me a contract and they offered me a lot of money for it per acre,” he said.

“It was way more than what we make farming, ranching and making money on cattle but my neighbors obviously would not be happy living next to a plant. They moved out to the country for a solid reason - not to live next to a solar plant,” Perry said.

The plant would be a 100 Megawatt facility, and the company has proposed the local school district to designate the farmland as commercial land for tax purposes.

The school board will officially vote on their involvement with the project in March. If they refuse, OCI Solar Power says they’ll reassess the viability of the project and determine if they will proceed with the project on their own dime.

Senior Project Development Manager James Scott said the project will not cost the community any tax dollars if approved and adds the company is happy to address any questions or concerns moving forward.

“So, an event like this is a perfect opportunity for us to take on board their concerns, understand what people are fearing or considering, and then be able to address that,” Scott said.

“If we have a way of mitigating a concern by setting panels further back from somebody’s property line, considering a certain view, we’ll take that on board in our design.”

Scott adds that solar panels have been an integral part in helping keep power, especially during hot summers and the winter storms last year. Regardless of those attempts and the chance for more economic profit that could come with it, Perry believes there is too much at risk.

“I’m not against solar, I’ve got it on my property with my buildings,” he said.

“In my opinion, we don’t need to give tax breaks to a corporation that’s going to come in and build the solar plant and sell it off as soon as it gets built.”

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