Amaury Abreu & Q Hubo News Staff

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Annville, PA- What once was a very controversial conversation in Lebanon County will have its destiny being decided on April 5th, the residents of North Annville Township will come together to hear the official decision that could decide the destiny of the solar farm project in the area. The proposal of a 858-acre solar farm has come with multiple community members sharing their view as to why that should not happen.

“Solar (Power) in this part of the country, in the state, in the county, is very new and when you bring something new like this I think is understandable and expected to have some questions, misunderstandings, misinformation and whole it’s disappointing, it’s not surprising because we realize we are bringing something new” said Eric Holton, a representative from the Enel Green Power. in regards to the backlash they have faced in the Annville community. 

“We want it so that at the end of the project we can pull it all out and have it as if we were never there (in regards to the solar farms end life cycle)”

One of the common questions asked to Enel Green Power representatives is the why/how they decide which location they will pick to install a solar farm “That is a very common question” said Mr. Holton “We look at hundreds of different inputs when we decide on a project site, so it’s by no means that we are spinning the globe )trying to find a spot)…the biggest reason I would say is the existing transmissions line that already crosses a project site”. Enel Green Power shared with Q Hubo News some of their material that helps explain the process and intentions behind the installation and development of a project site. 

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According to their digital brochure the solar farms are instaledl in a way that is not destructive to the land being used, ensuring that the land in the future can be utlized again for farming purposes once a project is done. “We want it so that at the end of the project we can pull it all out and have it as if we were never there (in regards to the solar farms end life cycle)”. Mr. Holton said “We are not doing major excavations, we are not pouring concrete, everything that we install is easily able to be taken out”.

“You are looking at $15 million over the life of the project in new tax revenue for the community” 

According to Mr. Holton they (Enel Green Power) does not intent to do anything without consulting the county and the community members with their input on how the land can be used while the solar panels are there. In the organization’s brochure they share that even when the solar farm is installed, the land around them are good to use. The corporation will work with the county, local agencies and community members and come up with a design that fits the desire of the community as a whole in how the land will be utilized. 

One of their strongest arguments when presenting the solar farm project is the significant tax revenue that the community will receive from the project. “You are looking at $15 million over the life of the project in new tax revenue for the community” Mr. Holton said. The corporation has a program named creating “shared value” where they focus on finding ways to give back to the community in a way that is unique to the location of the project site”

” I have no grandsons that could take over the farm after my son and I die. Him ( Ms. Brightbill son) and I agree that this is the best way to go for us”

This project is not only about the Enel Corporation, their business pursuits and how this is going to affect the Annville community. There is another group that is being affected by the changes happening both in a local and national level and those are the landowners who are willing to lease or sell their land to the Enel Grenn Power. 

These landowners have been facing difficulties, all in their own way to preserve the land, each in their own way want for there to be a legacy for their families and community members around them. One of these landowners is Hilda Brightbill, Hilda is a 85 year old landowner in South Annville Township who is leasing their land to Enel Corporation. Ms. Brightbill runs the farm with along with her 65 year old son. “I have no grandsons that could take over the farm after my son and I die. Him ( Ms. Brightbill son) and I agree that this is the best way to go for us”. said Ms. Brightbill. 

“It has been hard to hire help with the farm and kids nowadays do not want to work” 

Ms. Brightball was born and raised in a farm and she did not want the land to be ruined or sold to developers or for a warehouse to be built. For her and her son it comes down to a good deal because the project won’t ruin the land. 

For Jill Baer the story is a little different. Her husband and brother-in-law are the ones who take care of the farm operations but they are having a hard time hiring help to run the farm. “It has been hard to hire help with the farm and kids nowadays do not want to work” said Mrs. Baer “Most high school kids could make $800/month if they wanted to work but it’s hard to get them to help”. 

At first Mrs. and Mr. Baer turned down the offer to lease their land when Enel Green Power approached them about the possibility but then (after discussions) the company decided to buy the land for what is worth. Mrs. Baer shared that her husband is getting old and that they decided that selling the was the best option (for them). “They (Enel Corporation) came in the right time with their offer” said Mrs. Baer 

Mrs. Baer said that all the money from the sale of the land will go to their retirement. 

“I want to be part of the revolution with the use of renewable energy”. 

Brent Kaylor, a family man, wants to keep the farm within the family for at least 30 more years and leasing the land was an opportunity for that to happen ” I have been a conservationist at heart, I saw this as a way to keep the land in our family for 30 more years” said Mr. Kaylor. 

Mr. Kaylor’s children currently have no interest in farming but he said he is hopeful that the sentiment could change and knowing that land will be returned to normal agricultural use is a very attractive idea to him. ” I have been proponent of solar power and renewable energy and this opportunity meant a lot to help with the reduction of fossil fuels use” Mr. Kaylor said. “I want to be part of the revolution with the use of renewable energy”.

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