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Solar panels near Cunningham on April 10, 2023.

Solar and wind companies are coming to rural Texas. These residents are trying to keep them out.

In Franklin County, a group of locals are concerned about potential environmental harm from renewable energy facilities and support a bill that would impose more regulations on solar and wind. The industry says it’s being unfairly singled out.


A woman reacts to "Before" and "After" photos of land purchased for solar projects, at a community meeting at Penelope's Coffee in Mt. Vernon, on April 8, 2023.
Jim Emery, a volunteer at the local fire department, expresses his concern of electrical fires that might arise as a result of solar project expansions, at a community meeting at Penelope's Coffee in Mt. Vernon, on April 8, 2023. "Think about more than 'right now', and the dollars that are going to come," said Emery, "Think about your kids and the generations that are going to come after us."
Transmission lines run to the Thorn Tree Switch station, over farm and ranch land in Mt. Vernon on April 10, 2023.
A truck drives through the plaza square of Mt. Vernon on April 10, 2023.
A homemade info sheet with a map of where the various solar projects are built nearby Franklin county at a community meeting at Penelope's Coffee in Mt. Vernon, on April 8, 2023.

A statewide fight 

Cricia Ryan poses on one of her family’s Air tractor crop-dusters in El Campo, TX, on Monday, April 3, 2023.
Memorabilia inside the office of Cricia Ryan’s family outside of El Campo, TX, on Monday, April 3, 2023.

“What can we do?”

Gary Boren points to an aerial photo of a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) as he and his wife express their concerns regarding solar project expansions in their county, at a community meeting at Penelope's Coffee in Mt. Vernon, on April 8, 2023. A BESS enables energy from renewables to be stored and later released.
Rows of pipes where solar panels will be installed at the Stampede Solar project by Enel Green Power, near Mt. Vernon on April 10, 2023. According to the project website, the project is made up of four landowners and 2,700 acres, and expected to produce 255 megawatts.

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