Company planning 700-acre solar farm in northern Madison County

John P. Cleary | The Herald Bulletin file photoThe Indiana Municipal Power Agency, along with local and state government officials, opened the Anderson 1 Solar Park May 2, 2017. The 35-acre, 5-megawatt solar farm on Park Road can provide enough power for about 500 homes.

ANDERSON — Potential developers of any large-scale solar energy facilities have a narrow window to submit an application under the old Madison County ordinance.

The Madison County commissioners have not voted to extend the moratorium on large-scale solar energy facilities after a recommendation June 9 by the Planning Commission.

The Madison County Plan Commission has recommended a six-month extension of the moratorium on large-scale solar energy facilities.

The request would have extended the moratorium on solar energy facilities larger than 50 acres be extended through Jan. 7.

The current moratorium expires July 7.

Brad Newman, planning director for Madison County, said if no action is taken by the commissioners, the action by the Plan Commission becomes effective 30 days after their vote.

Last December, the commission recommended a one-year extension of the moratorium, but the commissioners extended it for six months until July 7.

Newman said in June is working on a new county solar energy ordinance and hopes to have it completed by the end of July.

He said the proposed ordinance would be made available to the Plan Commission and the public for input with a possible vote by October.

“I have found an ordinance to use to work on a county ordinance,” he said. “I’m still gathering information.”

Newman said that once the new solar energy ordinance is completed the hope is that everyone can agree on the provisions.

There were two public comments from opponents of the proposed Lone Oak Solar Energy facility in support of extending the moratorium at the Plan Commission meeting.

Once the county’s new solar energy ordinance is adopted, the moratorium will be lifted, Newman said.

The moratorium was put in place after the Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals approved the proposed Lone Oak Solar Energy facility in northern Madison County.

The BZA has twice voted for the $110 million project that is expected to generate 120 megawatts of electricity.

The initial 850-acre special use was approved in May 2019 at the request of Invenergy. It included a 500-foot setback from non-participating property owners. A second vote, in September, was for an additional 350 acres.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter

@KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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.

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