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Bill would give money to wind and solar friendly counties, but only if it comes from the feds

Rows upon rows of solar panels stretch back toward a tree line.
Wikimedia Commons
A solar farm in Memphis, Tennessee.

A bill that aims to incentivize Indiana counties to be wind and solar friendly passed the state Senate on Tuesday.

Renewable energy companies say all of the different local ordinances in Indiana have made it difficult to build these projects — especially for something like a wind farm that can span multiple counties. That’s why lawmakers created voluntary state guidelines for renewable projects two years ago.

Chris Kunkle is with the renewable company Apex Clean Energy. In a Senate committee, he said some Indiana communities have expressed interest in partnering with them on a solar farm, but they’ve been unable to make the projects work.

“I think because [the 2021 law] didn’t include a carrot nor a stick, these standards haven’t gotten as much traction as we’d hoped to have seen," Kunkle said.

More than 50 counties have solar ordinances, but a Purdue University study last year showed none of them meet all the criteria in the state guidelines.

Senate Bill 390 would give counties that adopt the guidelines $1 for every megawatt hour of energy generated by the project, every year for a decade.

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But that’s only if the state can get the money through federal grants. Lawmakers have opposed using taxpayer dollars for the renewable-ready program for the second time since it was set up.

Several county ordinances have been influenced by Hoosiers who oppose wind and solar farms in their communities. Among other things, they say solar farms take up prime Indiana farmland.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Rebecca Thiele covers statewide environment and energy issues.