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Simsbury residents speak out at public hearing on solar panels being built in town

SIMSBURY – Another public meeting was held at Simsbury High School where residents weighed in on solar panels being built on old tobacco fields in town.

The company, Deepwater Wind has been eyeing County and Hoskins Road as the spot to install them.

Many people at the meeting were fired up about the topic because they said it would change the look of the town.

Cars quickly filled the parking lot of the high school and residents were greeted with fliers about the solar panels.

One resident who has lived in Simsbury since he was eight years old said solar energy is a bright idea, but does not think the proposal is the right fit for the town.

“It produces noise. It produces glare. Like really, I’m for solar but it just doesn’t make sense to have it around hundreds of homes when they could put it on the Amazon building or so many other fields,” said Ryan Lough of Simsbury.

Deepwater Wind has called the project “The Tobacco Valley Solar Farm.”

The site of the former tobacco farm was selected late last year.

State Representative John Hampton said he has proposed an amendment in which projects like this one should go to planning and zoning commissions.

“Most people I talk to are pro-solar energy and pro-clean energy, but I think they want to see a more strategic plan and not just let this happen,” said State Representative John Hampton.

Deepwater has yet to file an application with the town, but they said the project would in fact, benefit Simsbury.

However, most of the residents were not buying it. They said the solar panels would be intrusive as the old tobacco fields carry so much history and would be an eyesore for people driving down that busy road.

On the other hand, some did support it and were open to learning more.

If the state approves the project, the farm would deliver 46,000 MWh per year, potentially powering up to 5,000 homes.

Deepwind said they plan on having another public hearing with the date to be determined.

At the end of the day, no final decision will be made without the state’s final say.