A former Mayor of Ballymena has thrown his weight behind the Kells Solar Farm proposal which has sharply divided opinion in the area.
James Currie, a local councillor for 26 years, believes the project will be beneficial to the local community, in terms of jobs and inward investment.
“The Elgin investment in Kells is a positive project for the village and the wider community. I’ve spoken with Elgin representatives and I know they are committed to supporting local community projects and working with the local schools and that is another added value benefit from this project,” he said.
Mr. Currie says Solar is just the latest technological advance that landowners must embrace.
“Landowners have always had to embrace modern technology to earn a living from the land, from tractors to electricity. Solar is just the next stage. We can’t earn a living from anything other than the land. Landowners are tied to their land and have to work to preserve it, maintain it and earn from it. From an owner’s perspective, Solar is quiet; the land itself is not damaged in any way and can be grazed by sheep. If the truth be told, very few people will see the panels once the planting to screen is established. As the land is not farmed intensively, it also encourages wildlife.”
James and his son James Jnr already use Solar Panels on their farm – both to power their domestic needs and to provide clean energy to power their Poultry House.
“Solar is clean, it’s always on, is sustainable and it reduces the demand on the grid. There are over 500 deaths each year from pollution so any reduction in use of oil, coal and gas fossil fuels would reduce that figure. I also welcome the news of the Community fund to be administered by the Kells & Connor Community Improvement Association which will go further to supporting local projects and youth schemes which this rural community certainly needs,” he said.