Amendments approved for solar energy systems


By Jennifer Woods - [email protected]



Modifications were recently approved for the Fayette County Zoning resolution in regards to the regulation of solar energy systems.

These modifications were approved at a recent commissioners’ meeting, per the recommendation of the Fayette County Zoning Commission.

A public hearing was held March 21 in regards to the recommended changes. There were no notable objections or public comment recorded.

Solar energy systems, according to the proposed changes to the resolution, are “the components and subsystems required to convert solar energy into electric or thermal energy, including all equipment and accessory buildings. For purposes of this zoning resolution, a solar energy system shall be considered a permanent structure treated similarly to a building.”

The document further includes the following proposed changes:

—Solar Energy Systems with a generating capacity of 50 megawatts or more must submit an application to the Ohio Power Sitting Board (OPSB) at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and are required to meet OPSB regulations.

—A building permit must be obtained prior to any construction, installation, alteration or expansion of a system. An electrical permit must also be obtained from the Fayette County Building Department prior to construction.

—Solar Energy Systems are not to be used for advertising except for identification of manufacturer or operator, but that identification should not be visible from the property line.

—All power and utility lines need to be located underground.

—Sound producing equipment, such as power converters, should be located at least 150 feet from dwellings at the time of construction/installation.

—Designs and locations of the system should be done in a way to prevent glare toward habitable buildings, streets and roadway right of way.

There are several other regulations and requirements listed for potential solar energy systems.

As previously reported and according to Greg McCune of the Fayette County Zoning Department, the new language will not automatically allow any company to come into Fayette and build a solar energy system.

The new language gives general guidelines for companies that would be interested in coming into the county. These guidelines are the beginning, as further permissions/permits would need to be gained from the appropriate offices.

McCune said solar energy systems weren’t a consideration at the time the resolution was first created.

By making changes, the resolution can be updated with the current market and interests that companies may have when looking at locating in Fayette County.

Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.

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By Jennifer Woods

[email protected]