Massive damage at solar 'farm' near Perth
Published Friday, September 26, 2014 5:43PM EDT Last Updated Friday, September 26, 2014 6:53PM EDT
Ontario Provincial Police are investigating extensive damage at a solar farm west of Perth. Vandals smashed fifty-five panels at the massive property in Lanark County. The solar project is located on Narrows Lock Road in Tay Valley Township. The panels sit side by side, thousands upon thousands; soaking up the sun on this beautiful fall day and stretching across more than one hundred acres. So it would have taken some time to notice a few dozen of these solar panels had been deliberately smashed.
"I can say they had rocks thrown at them,” says Constable David Bird of the Lanark County OPP detachment, “I think that is the knowledge in the area and that is true, I can confirm that.”
Police believe sometime around September 7th, one or more people jumped the barbed wire fence, took off to the back of the property and began damaging the panels. The project is large, with between 40 to 50-thousand solar panels. The damage to 55 of those panels amounts to about $50,000.
The North Burgess Solar Project, as it is called, started generating solar power this February on property that was formerly a wood lot and farm land. These projects are popping up all over Eastern Ontario, encouraged by the government's subsidies to companies generating green power.
For years, the projects have drawn protests like one near Hawkesbury in 2009.
“We’re not against solar energy,” said one farmer among many protesting at a farm, “just don’t put it on prime farm land.”
Northland power who owns the project near Perth responded briefly in an email saying the damage had been done weeks ago and the panels had been replaced. But the OPP says it want to find out who is responsible: whether it was a bunch of kids out to do some damage or a group out to make a political point
“A crime has been committed and we want to try and solve it,” added Cst. Bird.