Commercial Solar Development Research & Zoning Ordinance Amendments

Commercial solar developments are becoming more common 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.

 

Bartholomew County Commercial Solar Energy Systems (CSESs) Ordinance:
The Bartholomew County Plan Commission, at its August 10, 2022 Plan Commission meeting, made a favorable recommendation to the Bartholomew County Commissioners regarding the proposed commercial solar ordinance. You can find the proposed ordinance, as recommended by the Plan Commission, below:

Proposed Commercial Solar Ordinance (as recommended by the Bartholomew County Plan Commission on August 10, 2022)

The recommended ordinance will next be reviewed by the Bartholomew County Commissioners, who will make a final decision on the solar regulations. The Planning Department is currently coordinating with the County Commissioners’ office to identify a date for the solar ordinance to appear on their agenda. Please contact the Planning Department at 812-376-2550 with questions.

 

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.