North Carolina’s Still Awful, But In A Slightly Different Way

The citizens of Woodland, N.C. have spoken loud and clear: They don’t want none of them highfalutin solar panels in their good town. They scare off the kids. “All the young people are going to move out,”warned Bobby Mann, a local resident concerned about the future of his burg. Worse, Mann said, the solar panels would suck up all the energy from the Sun.

Ars Technica’s hilarious headline for this story, North Carolina Citizenry Defeat Pernicious Big Solar Plan to Suck Up the Sun, is genius. On one level, this is a good laugh at dumb southerners who don’t know basic science. The whole thing really reads like an Onion piece.

But when you look further into this story, it’s less about stupid rednecks fearing technology, and more about a couple of very wealthy people who don’t want a solar farm to ruin the view from their homes, convincing the rest that solar panels are what causes all their problems, from cancer to lack of jobs. There’s a lot of North Carolina involved in this story, from playing-rural in oversized McMansions with A/C and pretty views of the countryside, to a general belief that anything scientific is just a theory, to threatening a population with the struggles of high unemployment with the fear of jobless ghost towns, to a history of contamination and coverups like Duke Energy’s coal ash spill, and ok, sure, rednecky fear of change might be part of it too. But the end result is a couple insanely selfish people working hard to make sure we don’t improve anything here.

And that’s what I really hate about North Carolina.

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