Readers React: Solar panels belong on roofs, not in massive desert installations

Part of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in eastern San Bernardino County, the largest solar thermal plant in the world.
( Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: San Bernardino County’s pushback against solar farms in the Mojave Desert should be the wave of the future. High-capital investments in acres of photovoltaic solar panels should have no place in a Green New Deal.

First, solar farms are not green enough. They may mitigate the carbon emissions of conventional fossil fuel electrical plants, but they upset desert habitats and destabilize surface soils, leading to dust storms.

Second, solar farms are energy inefficient, because they require long transmission lines to reach users who consequently pay higher prices. Moreover, the farms are “structurally toxic,” in that they can’t inexpensively upgrade or nimbly respond to changing demographic demands.

The more efficient alternative is to build up from below, by incorporating solar households into smaller grids that can easily expand or contract to fit changing conditions.


Andrew Apter, Santa Monica


To the editor: The rejection of solar and wind farms in San Bernardino County is well-intentioned but still counterproductive.

Switching to renewable energy is what is going to preserve the “vast open areas precious for their natural resources” by cleaning up the atmosphere. The business-as-usual burning of fossil fuels will continue to reshape that landscape in ways we are already seeing: prolonged droughts, longer fire seasons and more intense rain events.


The desire to protect one’s neighborhood and environment is understandable, but is shortsighted in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

Kathi King, Santa Barbara

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