The Shelby County Commissioners have hit the “off” switch on large-scale solar power installations.
On Monday morning, the commissioners voted unanimously, 3 to 0, to place a 6-month moratorium on “Commercial Solar Energy Systems.”
The vote follows a call from the County Plan Commission in March to put a temporary halt on large solar facilities after approval of the 1,700-acre Speedway Solar farm to be built northeast of Shelbyville by Ranger Power of Brooklyn, New York.
Concerns are that solar installations will use up land that's now farmed, and drive down property values for those living near them.
Desiree Calderella, director of the Shelby County Plan Commission, presented the resolution to the commissioners.
She said the moratorium will give the Plan Commission time to address the issue in more detail, but it won't affect the Speedway Solar development.
“The resolution, specifically number 2, exempts Speedway Solar from this, the moratorium, so if they want to apply to the Drainage Board or for additional applications, they can still do that going forward,” she told the commissioners.
Calderella added she's already heard there's interest in building another solar power facility in Shelby County.
Commissioner Don Parker (R-South District) said he'd like to see a moratorium also on wind farms.
The resolution the commissioners approved only mentions solar installations. Calderella said she'd bring up adding wind farms at the next Plan Commission meeting which is April 23.