Solar Farms Fact Sheet from
IndianaDG Member Adam Thada
The Marshall County Commissioners are scheduled to vote on a one-year solar moratorium at their meeting on Feb. 17 at 9:30 AM. This would temporarily prevent private property owners from installing solar panels on their land for any projects greater than 10 acres.
Solar companies are interested in developing our area because of the changing economics of 21st century energy. In a 2018 study, NIPSCO found that it was going to be cheapest for ratepayers to close all of their coal plants and replace them with solar, storage, and wind, saving $4 billion over the next 30 years. This will also reduce pollution and keep more of our energy dollars in the region.
Energy independence is finally possible now that we can generate revenue with Marshall County sunshine. Thousands of acres in NIPSCO’s service area will be prime for solar investment, meaning property tax revenue, lease payments to landowners, and jobs across the region. At least for the counties that are prepared.
Renewable energy has bipartisan support. Recent polling shows that 88% of Hoosier Republicans say owners should be able to lease their land to wind or solar energy developers, and 84% support the least expensive energy options, which favor renewable energy.
Solar farms provide drought-resistant income streams for landowners. While temporarily removing land from cultivation, they preserve farmland for our grandchildren in the long run. Once topsoil is destroyed by residential sprawl & heavy industry, there is no return to agriculture. After a few decades of energy production, properly designed solar farms can be decommissioned.
Recent studies in Indiana have shown zero impact on property values adjacent to solar farms. Pollinator-friendly vegetation planted in and around solar farms can boost yield for specialty crops in adjacent fields. Health and safety impacts of solar farms are minimal compared to alternative land uses.
As Commissioner Klotz noted in the 1/27/20 Plan Commission meeting, “we have to protect the tax base” because of property tax caps. That means planning for responsible development and economic activity.
We should encourage our civic leaders to craft smart & reasonable standards for solar energy development in the county, considering impacts on the public and the rights of individual property owners to earn a living. It does not make sense for government officials to target a single industry and prevent private property owners from responsibly generating income and badly needed tax revenue for the county.
Contact your County Commissioner ASAP:
- Kevin Overmyer for District 3 (West, Union, Green, Walnut, Tippecanoe, and Bourbon Townships) firstname.lastname@example.org, 574-952-0852
- Stan Klotz for District 1 (Polk, German, and North Townships) email@example.com, 574-546-4655
- Mike Burroughs for District 2 (Center Township) firstname.lastname@example.org, 574-780-3409
Click here for district maps.