As a farmer and owner of A-1 Agricultural property in Caroline County, Virginia, I support the petitioners of the neighboring Caden Energix Endless Caverns North and South solar installations, and request DEQ to revoke Energix's PBR. I also request DEQ to amend the requirements for NOI and PBR to require the correct application process and timeline, as well as providing a valid source company, and not naming a ghost company LLC in disguise.
This testimony will reflect my experience with Energix in Caroline County, VA where Energix filed two Special Exemption permits for solar installations. One, for Whalebone solar, a minor project on 40 acres was ultimately approved by our Board of Supervisors, despite being sent from the Planning Commission with no recommendation. And two, Racehorse solar, another minor project on 145 acres, which our Board denied for numerous reasons. For both of these projects, there was never a public announcement in local media of a community meeting to inform local residents of their plan prior to the first planning hearing. Hence no local residents knew anything about these two proposed solar projects, reflected in the absence of citizens attending the initial Planning Commission Public Hearings on August 26, 2021. In fact, the only resident who spoke against Whalebone stated he shared a common boundary line with the project, and only heard about it from "a neighbor who heard about it from another neighbor." This project was ultimately approved by our BoS on August 16, 2022, however a NOI and PBR were both received by DEQ on September 20, 2022. If the NOI had been filed prior to the application, perhaps local citizens would have been informed.
I find it very disheartening that this company continues to flaunt it's exclusive use of solar panels sourced from First Solar, which contain the heavy metal Cadmium Telluride that has a strong potential for soil and water contamination, and has never posted a pre-paid recycling commitment. This company has been the subject of numerous stormwater and erosion violations last year alone in Virginia, and their representatives were not truthful in their disclosures of when these incurred in our county meetings. In addition, prior to their Racehorse proposal's denial by the Caroline County Board of Supervisors, their representative was unable to state how they would rectify stormwater and environmental damages incurred to neighboring properties.
Due to the potential for erosion and pollution alone to this beautiful, scenic, and pristine area, I would ask DEQ to revoke the PBR for Energix Endless Caverns north and south, as well as strengthening the rules for the solar application and permitting process.