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Commissioners place moratorium on commercial solar energy applications

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

Further development of solar energy in Shelby County is being put on hold after the County Commissioners voted to place a 6-month moratorium on accepting applications for commercial solar energy facilities.

The move will allow the Shelby County Plan Commission to look at the ordinance to see if any changes need to be made.

The commissioners voted unanimously, 3-0, on the moratorium.

The moratorium exempts Speedway Solar under Resolution No. 2, meaning if it wishes to apply to the Drainage Board or additional applications, it will be allowed to, said Desiree Calderella, director of the Shelby County Plan Commission.

Commissioner Don Parker said he would feel more comfortable if the moratorium included wind farms, to which Chris Ross, one of the other two commissioners, said that the plan commission’s meeting was specifically about solar.

“The way this resolution is written, the purpose of it is because there were concerns specifically related to solar farms when the Speedway Solar (farm) came through,” Calderella said in response. “So if we were to apply to wind farms, then we’d have to rewrite this to give some kind of an explanation to why we’re putting a moratorium on wind farms.”

Commissioner Kevin Nigh said that could be its own moratorium.

“Hopefully, the six months is going to give us enough time to go look at it,” Calderella said, adding she’s already heard “rumblings” of interest in bringing another solar power facility into the county.