“Neighbors used to wave to Timothy Masters whenever he stood outside his cherry-red barn, trading hellos across his corn and soybean fields in this small town about 10 miles north of Niagara Falls.
That ended about a year ago, when a field of solar panels was deposited on 18 acres of Mr. Masters’s land.
Mr. Masters, the building inspector in Lewiston, is among a growing number of landowners trying to cash in on New York State’s push toward renewable energy: The solar company now leasing his land, he said, pays him 20 times more than the soybean farmer who had previously rented it.
But by replacing lush green soybean plants with rows of silicon and metal solar panels, Mr. Masters has found himself the target of a growing backlash against the spread of solar farms in rural areas.
“You’ll have people that get up and say, ‘I am green,’ and ‘I’m for the environment,’ and ‘I’m pro this whole green agenda,’ but then all of a sudden whenever one comes in, it changes,” Mr. Masters said. “What I notice is people have ideals and values that they will put forth — until it comes maybe around their house.””
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Nir, Sarah Maslin. New York Times 18 March 2020.
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