116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Some solar panels are considered hazardous; others are not. The Linn County Board of Supervisors refuses to require utility solar applicants to use non-hazardous panels. The current utility solar project for the Duane Arnold area will use just over half a million solar panels (Phase 1 and Phase 2 Decommissioning Plans) that could be considered hazardous waste when decommissioned or damaged.
Some solar batteries emit toxic gases (like hydrogen fluoride) when they burn; others do not. The Board of Supervisors refuses to require utility solar applicants to use batteries that do not emit toxic gases when they burn. If a battery catches on fire and emits toxic gas, how much gas will be produced and where will it go? So far, the Supervisors have refused to hire an expert to evaluate this.
Linn County utility solar projects must be placed on land with a renewable energy overlay zoning. Renewable energy overlay zoning is only allowed on agricultural and critical natural resource land — not on residential, commercial, or even industrial land. (UDC 107-117 (h) (2) and 107-149 (b)) Hazardous panels on critical natural resource land adds environmental risk.
These decisions do not appear to me to protect the environment. Three projects (Coggon and Duane Arnold 1&2) are already approved. More are coming. If you believe as I do that Linn County can do better to set environmentally sound requirements for future projects, please contact our Board of Supervisors. https://www.linncountyiowa.gov/123/Board-of-Supervisors