Public Hearing Scheduled to Consider Moratorium on Large Solar Farms
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By Gretta Becay

A public hearing will be held Dec. 4 at the Dodge County Planning Commission meeting to hear comments about the possibility of a moratorium on applications for solar energy farms that are 40 kW or larger. If approved, the moratorium could last up to a year.

To date, 15 solar farms have been permitted in the county. All have the capability of generating at least one megawatt of electricity.

The moratorium would allow time for the review of regulations to ensure that various rules are consistent with the county’s Comprehensive Plan, policies and the purposes of the Zoning Ordinance. Current performance standards would also be reviewed.

Since renewable energy sources such as wind energy and solar energy are much in demand, the requests for permits for solar farms in the county have increased dramatically in the last few years.

However, there are concerns that need to be addressed before more of the farms are put up.

Some solar panels are sited where they cause glare to nearby drivers. The solar installations sometimes take up prime farmland or are sited in wetlands. The rows of panels are not particularly esthetically pleasing to some. And future decommissioning costs must be addressed because the typical farm is contracted to last for 25 years.

The meeting begins at 1 p.m. and will be held at the Government Services Building, 721 Main St. N., Mantorville.
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