The future of Solar

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, June 20, 2018

When it comes to learning a new skill or exploring new ideas for the first time, naturally there are several considerations and foundation skills that may be required in order to fully enjoy the benefit of the newfound idea.

Think about your first time riding a bike. Maybe you started out with training wheels until you were confident enough to one day strike out on your own and conquer without the help of training aids.

Much like learning to ride a bike, Charlotte County is embarking on a new adventure with the implementation of solar in the county, which also comes with a learning curve.

Following a recent joint public hearing between the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors and the Charlotte County Planning Commission, several concerns once again forced the Planning Commission to decide to take another look at solar use amendments in the county, which would set the tone for the future development of local projects.

While a recommendation was slated to come before the Board of Supervisors at their June meeting, County Purchaser and Planning Agent Monica Elder said, “at this time, the Planning Commission is not ready to bring that before the board due to some of the comments that we received last night.”

She said some advice was sought from the Commission’s Attorney and they were waiting on a response.

Elder anticipated the matter would come before the Board at the July meeting of the Supervisors.

We applaud the County for taking into consideration the citizen comments and input from those directly related to the solar business to ensure the County’s policies regarding solar uses are all inclusive.

Failure to do otherwise could result in a roadblock in the future for solar companies who may wish to look at Charlotte County as a potential land use area.

The county is being proactive to ensure the best policy is created to promote the well-being of the county while sticking to agricultural roots.

According to a memorandum from Solunesco, “the solar industry plans to construct two to five gigawatts of solar over the next four years. For the Commonwealth, this could mean the creation of tens of thousands of full time equivalent jobs, in addition to enough clean energy to power over a half-million homes.”

Within the next month, the Commission should work together and make the best informed changes not only for the best interest of the County, but to ensure a timely result as not to discourage future solar companies from locating in the area, if that is the desired outcome.