At last Thursday’s McHenry County Board Committee of the Whole meeting, District 6 member Larry Smith was not shy about his opposition to solar farms on prime farmland.
He doubled down at the McHenry County League of Women Voters Candidates’ Night in answer to the question about whether the County Board should allow solar farms on good farmland.
Larry Smith admitted it was a “hot subject,” but said he didn’t feel that McHenry County’s open spaces should be covered with solar arrays.
“The companies are not viable without government subsides to pay land owners three-five times market rate [for their land].
One of the other candidates on the District 6 ballot, Larry Spaeth said, “I am in favor of solar farms, [but operators should not be] let to walk away at the end of [the solar units’] lifetime.”John Jung of District 5 was also in support of solar farms, “if in the right spot not across from subdivisions.
He suggested putting them under high power lines.
Michael Rein,also from District 5, replied in the affirmative, but said they “need to be in certain areas.”
He pointed out that regulations already exist in the Unified Development Ordinance for rehabilitation of the land.He added that there are only about one hundred subsidies this year, so that many of the applicants in McHenry County are unlikely to be built, even if approved by the County Board.
The final candidate District 5 Democrat Carlos Acosta also favored solar farms, but thought they should put put on “roofs of government buildings.”