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Scott County Considers Solar Ordinance

solar cells
"Solar Panels" by Mountain/\Ash
solar cells

Scott County is trying to preserve its prime farmland, while also encouraging the development of renewable energy. This week, supervisors are discussing a possible ordinance restricting the development of large solar farms.

Planning Director Chris Mathias says since 1980, Scott County has had very strict rules to protect its agricultural land. And that even small, alternative uses must be scrutinized very carefully.

"We have some of the best farmland in the world here, and in my opinion we need to make sure that that farmland is not going over to a large solar farm. If we do want that in our jurisdiction, we need to make sure that's happening not on the most productive farmland."

The ordinance would not affect what's considered "consumer scale" solar projects, on someone's roof or in their yard. Instead it would regulate projects featuring hundreds and thousands of solar cells - called "utility scale solar farms."

Mathias says if the ordinance is approved, prime farmland in Scott County could not be used for large solar arrays.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.