The Fayette County Area Planning Commission met on Thursday night, and the discussion dove into the creation of solar panel “farms.”

Solar panel farms are areas of land that is outfitted with solar panels. The panels collect energy from the sun. That energy is sent to a collection point, which then sells it to consumers, through various power companies.

While the farms can present a financial windfall to individuals putting them on their property, there are other factors that need to be considered, according to at least one of the commissioners.

“These companies have been very aggressive, offering lucrative deals to eat up our agriculture land,” Gary Naylor said. “The person selling the land isn’t just making that decision for his generation, but quite possibly for the next generation as well.

“I just feel like there needs to be some kind of consequence for that land owner.”

Later in the discussion, one such consequence was considered, as a suggestion of changing the tax burden – from agriculture to industrial – was mentioned.

Some talk about the current solar farm in Richmond ensued, which brought up another point.

“They’re not talking about 100 acres here or there,” Naylor said. “They’re talking about, potentially, thousands of acres of land. They don’t want to put these farms on the hills and hollars. They want to put them right here in Posey Township.”

Other issues including the likelihood of increased run-off from the farms, creating issues for neighboring owners, was also pointed out.

The over all goal of the APC is to have something in place in case someone locally decides that they want to pursue a solar panel farm.

It was said that something needs to address the property rights of those leasing the land, as well as something that would address the rights of those affected nearby.

Following more discussion, it was decided that the APC would continued to address the farms in upcoming meetings, with the goal of having something for the public to review by July.

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