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Government

Clinton County Ordinance Would Strengthen Solar Power Rules

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courtesy Purdue University
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Commercial solar power projects in Clinton County could need to meet new standards in order to operate, after the Area Plan Commission passed a solar power ordinance Tuesday.

APC Executive Director Elizabeth Stitzel says it was time to amend the county’s 2015 unified development ordinance with more detailed requirements. She says the new criteria will help mitigate what she calls a “free for all” approach.

“Since we’re hearing increasing rumors of a variety of possible projects—they may never happen, but we thought we’d go ahead and just close that loophole and have it the way we think we want it,” Stitzel says.     

The additional guidelines address maximum panel height, setback distance from residences, roads, and property lines, and the construction of a security fence around each solar installation, among other new rules.

Stitzel also says the issues with appearance, sound, and smell associated with wind turbines or Confined Animal Feeding Operations -- which has led to resistance to those projects from county residents -- are generally non-factors in solar power installations.

We have a number of personal panels that have been put in on farms; some of those are quite large, and we have not received a single complaint from neighbors that those panels are bothering them in any way, shape, or form,” Stitzel says.

The ordinance now goes to the Clinton County Commissioners for approval.