ANDERSON — A new solar energy moratorium has been approved for Madison County for the next six months.

The County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the recommendation of the Plan Commission to reinstitute a moratorium on solar projects larger than 50 megawatts.

The moratorium will remain in effect until March 21, 2022, or until the county’s new solar ordinance is adopted.

The previous moratorium that had been imposed lapsed on July 7.

Brad Newman, director of the Madison Plan Department, said the moratorium will not affect solar projects of less than 50 megawatts.

The Indiana Municipal Power Association has built several solar energy parks of less than 50 megawatts in Anderson, Frankton and Pendleton.

Newman said he continues to work on a draft of the new solar ordinance.

“I hope the Plan Commission will be able to set the required public hearing within the next three months,” he said of the solar ordinance.

The Plan Commission is required to conduct at least one public hearing on the proposed solar ordinance, which will then have to be voted on by the County Commissioners.

Local resident Denise Spooner said she favors the moratorium.

“It protects the county until an ordinance is approved,” she said. “I hope the solar ordinance is passed before the legislature meets.”

Last year, legislation was introduced in the Indiana General Assembly to set state standards for alternative energy projects including wind and solar power. The legislation was never voted on during the 2021 legislative session.

The moratorium will not affect the Invenergy Lone Oak Solar Park in northern Madison County, which has received county approval.

Invenergy has to start construction on the $110 million, 120 megawatt project by Dec. 31, 2023, or the project’s authorization expires.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.