Commercial Solar Development Research & Zoning Ordinance Amendments

Commercial solar developments are becoming more prevalent throughout the state of Indiana. With growing interest in this renewable energy source, the Planning Department has undertaken a research effort to understand best practices for large-scale solar developments and the requirements other communities across the state have enacted to minimize conflict between these developments and surrounding land uses. This research puts our community in a more informed position if a solar development is proposed in Bartholomew County. It also informs an ongoing effort to develop an update to our community’s zoning ordinance that would include specific regulations for commercial solar developments.

Below, find the Draft Bartholomew County Zoning Ordinance Updates for Commercial Solar Energy Systems (CSESs):
Draft CSES Zoning Ordinance Regulations (5.13.22)

The  Bartholomew County Plan Commission held a discussion among its members and staff about the proposed amendments at its regularly scheduled June 8, 2022 meeting. No public comment was taken during this discussion. The Plan Commission will hold a public hearing, where public comment will be taken, at its regularly scheduled July 13, 2022 meeting. The July 13 meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Meeting Hall at Columbus City Hall, 123 Washington Street, Columbus, IN. Attendees will also have the option of listening to and/or participating in the meeting virtually via WebEx video conference. Please contact the Planning Department for more information.


See below for links to various resources related to commercial solar development.

Indiana Model Solar Ordinance: Developed in partnership between Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute and the Great Plains Institute, this model ordinance reflects best practices in solar development and provides a framework for Indiana communities to reference while developing their own local ordinances.

Indiana Renewable Energy Community Planning Survey and Ordinance Inventory Summary: Prepared by Purdue Extension, this document provides a comprehensive overview of the land use regulations currently in place in Indiana communities to regulate solar and wind energy.  The document also includes “county snapshots” that summarize the wind and solar regulations within each Indiana county.

Comparison of Solar Regulations in Indiana Communities and State Model Ordinances: The Planning Department reviewed the existing commercial solar regulations in 14 Indiana communities and the recommended solar regulations in 5 state Model Solar Ordinances. The results of this research are included at this link.

Solar Development Articles: The Planning Department has compiled a series of recent newspaper and magazine articles related to commercial solar development. Many of these articles have been shared with the city and county Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals members in an effort to facilitate future discussion about this topic.

Where Can You Visit the Nearest Commercial Solar Development?:  The Riverstart Solar Park, in Randolph County, IN, was completed in January 2022.  Follow this link for a map and directions to the Solar Park.