ALTHA, Fla. (WMBB) — Florida Power and Light is seeking approval to build two solar farms in the area.
In a statement released by the company, they said the new panels could create hundreds of jobs and wouldn’t create any dust, odor, or pollution.
However, residents in the area said they are worried about a decrease in their property’s value, a disruption in the wildlife and said they still have questions about pollution prevention.
“We just think it needs to be somewhere else besides this beautiful, agricultural land and we don’t want to look at it,” said Calhoun County resident, Lillie Hamil. “I mean, it is what it is. We don’t want to look at it we’re very unhappy about hearing it.”
Florida Power and Light said each farm would create approximately 200 jobs during peak construction. However, potential job creation wasn’t enough to sway Hamil’s opinion.
“I didn’t move to the country to have people I don’t know from out of the state, from everywhere God knows where, in my front yard,” said Hamil. “You know my children ride bikes, they have dirt bikes, they have four-wheelers, like I don’t want to have those people in my front yard working.”
Hamil’s father, Byron Allen, has lived in Altha for 30 years. He is also against the potential solar energy center and said it feels like his home has been taken away.
“I don’t wanna go through the rest of my life looking at a bunch of solar panels out here,” said Allen. “Every time I go down to check my cows, I have to look at a pile of solar panels and I’m too old to pick up and move you know?”
Dustin Stevens is a stakeholder with Boothill Farm and said at one point, they were approached to sell their land to create a solar farm but they said no. He said he is also worried about his property value decreasing because he is still trying to fix what Hurricane Michael broke.
“So I waste a fortune trying to make improvements,” Stevens said. “They put that in and it devalues my property. I just think there’s better places for it than agricultural land.”
The Calhoun County Commission planning meeting will be held at 4 p.m. and the county commission meeting will be at 5 p.m. Both meetings will be on Tuesday, January 18.
To read the full Florida Power and Light statement, download it below.