Clinton County APC makes first of many steps towards solar farm

APC voted to favorably recommend the zoning overlay for a proposed 1,777-acre solar farm.

Posted: Feb 26, 2020 10:51 PM
Updated: Feb 28, 2020 3:52 PM

CLINTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- It was standing room only in the theater at the Frankfort Public Library Wednesday night. The county's Area Plan Commission met to make a recommendation about the zoning overlay for a proposed 1,777-acre solar farm. The board voted unanimously to favorably recommend.

Renewable energy has been a hot topic in the past in Clinton County. As we previously reported, in September of 2019, Clinton County commissioners upheld a moratorium on wind farms first put in place in 2017. This ultimately is continuing the ban on any wind farms being built in the county.

Invenergy is the company proposing the solar farm. The project manager gave a presentation to people in the audience addressing some of their big concerns.

APC President Daniel Sheets said solar farms could be a happy medium between country living and having big wind turbines in your back yard.

"I think it does reach that point to where it's something in between, during our wind farm meetings solar was one of the top items people wanted to see," he said. "Something much worse could be proposed for that land, like a subdivision."

People are worried about their property values, quality of life, damage to roads during construction, drainage, the environment, loss of agriculture land, light pollution/glare and the sheer size of this large project.

They brought in an expert to ease people's worries about property values, saying there would be little to no impact. Several community members who spoke during public comment still begged to differ.

The project manager explained how they will only actually be using 1,300 acres for the solar panels which will be surrounded by deer fencing without barbed wire. They will also be planting prairie grass and pollinators to help enrich the soil and encourage natural wildlife, essentially creating a big meadow. According to the presentation, they are also only taking 0.007% of farmable land in Clinton County.

"I think it's going to be a big benefit to water quality because we are taking this land out of row crop production, we're going to reduce nitrogen loads and silt loads," said Sheets.

Another big question: what does the county get out of this solar farm? Specifically, will the homes in Clinton County get the energy generated from the solar farm?

Invenergy used a metaphor with farming to explain. Clinton County farmers don't control where the corn or soy beans they harvest goes to. The farmers aren't selling to people in the county. They sell it to a supplier who then distributes it where it's needed. She said it's the same with the solar farm. The energy generated goes to a grid where it gets distributed to where it's needed, however they said it will get sent to a Midwest grid, so it will be used in the Midwest.

They also explained how they will be making large tax investments in Clinton County.

"Revenue wise this is a $38 million return to the county that could possibly be used to lower taxes, however that is up to the councils," said Sheets. "More immediately it can be used for roads."

Another board member made the point that they won't have to hire another sheriff's deputy or build another school or anything else that would take tax revenue from the county by building this solar farm.

At the end of the meeting, there were still many community members, mainly those who live where this will be built, that were unconvinced that this will be a good thing. However, there were also some wearing "Yes to Solar" stickers on their shirts. Sheets wants to remind people that this is still in its infancy and there are still lots of opportunities for people to voice their concerns.

 "This is not the last stop, it's only a recommendation," he said. "The county commissioners will be reviewing this possibly at the next meeting and then if they approve it, it comes back to the plan commission where Invenergy will have to introduce a development plan where we will see exactly what it is they are proposing. And then it all starts again with review from the plan commission, review from the drainage board and more opportunity for public input."

The next county commissioners meeting is scheduled for Monday March 3rd at 9 a.m. Find the calendar and agenda here.

West Lafayette
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 38°
Kokomo
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 36°
Rensselaer
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 34°
Fowler
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 34°
Williamsport
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 39°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 36°
Frankfort
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 40°
Delphi
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 38°
Monticello
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 39°
Logansport
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 39°
Dry and Cool for Remainder of Weekend.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 160454

Reported Deaths: 4118
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25691791
Lake14023358
St. Joseph9399165
Elkhart9026137
Allen8424230
Hamilton6293114
Vanderburgh601161
Tippecanoe383615
Hendricks3337133
Porter332350
Monroe330338
Johnson3207129
Delaware303474
Clark300763
Vigo268740
Madison244996
LaPorte231760
Cass226922
Warrick199565
Kosciusko193727
Floyd183968
Howard167066
Bartholomew145358
Dubois142726
Marshall142726
Wayne135331
Grant129739
Henry129730
Boone126950
Hancock122344
Noble119135
Jackson116417
Dearborn100028
Morgan97440
Lawrence94037
Gibson91512
Daviess90234
Clinton88916
Shelby87231
LaGrange82115
Knox79510
Harrison78324
Putnam75616
Posey7556
DeKalb74511
Fayette73218
Jasper6435
Miami6425
Steuben6408
Montgomery60422
White59915
Greene55838
Scott53413
Decatur51739
Adams5107
Whitley4696
Ripley4668
Clay4567
Sullivan45214
Wells44211
Starke4328
Wabash4329
Huntington4215
Orange41725
Spencer4046
Washington3843
Franklin37925
Jennings37313
Randolph37210
Fulton3714
Jefferson3455
Pike34018
Perry33314
Carroll33213
Jay3256
Fountain3193
Tipton28023
Vermillion2601
Parke2464
Blackford2313
Newton23011
Rush2254
Owen2101
Martin2010
Crawford1601
Pulaski1602
Brown1463
Ohio1317
Union1120
Benton1090
Switzerland960
Warren891
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events