Should Scott County allow community solar gardens on private rural properties as a permitted land use? If yes, what types of restrictions, if any, do you support to lessen impact to neighboring landowners and the community at large?
19 Registered Statements
Joshua Smith inside District1
April 15, 2015, 6:48 AM
I support solar energy gardens, I think it would have many benefits. Since the government is already requiring power companies like Xcel energy to start using different energy sources it's helpful to start seeing solar energy sites and finding out if or how much they will benefit us. We're not used to seeing them in this area, in fact almost 100% of our power comes from coal. I have travelled to a few places like the U.S. virgin islands where solar power is on top of many roofs used to help power apartment buildings, restaurants, houses, etc... I see it as a start.
Gary Schettl inside District1
April 14, 2015, 10:10 AM
I'm in favor of community solar gardens. Clean energy sources like solar are an important component to our clean energy future. Solar gardens offer an opportunity to support clean energy to people who don't own a home or land.
Alex Harms inside District2
April 13, 2015, 1:53 PM
I believe that community solar gardens are a good idea for private rural properties. The only provision I would include would be a factored percentage of the property on the date that the private agreement was signed. Mainly to ensure that if the company wanted to build 20 acres of solar panels and access roads, then the whole property should be a certain percentage larger than that, mainly to ensure that greenspace is further protected with the agreement. That greenspace would be protected from expansion in the future unless the parcel got larger by acquisitions of adjacent land and only resulted in the same percentages of land usage. The keywords are "private" and "rural".
I also think that municipal rooftops should be assessed as well. There shouldn't be a measurable negative environmental impact since most rooftops are just HVAC systems, vents, and rocks. This would capture solar energy normally converted to heat energy by the roof surface and possibly decrease the mid-summer heating bill by limiting the sunload on the roofing. Maybe a multi-site leasing contract between the county and an approved vendor would result in financial benefits due to economy of scale? Maybe the county would be able to utilize that bulk buying power to help control costs to private residents as well.
Jason Richter inside District4
April 11, 2015, 7:18 PM
I am strongly for the development of solar gardens. I believe this is a great way to help ensure a cleaner environment for present and future generations living in Minnesota. Anyone who is opposed to this is self-centered and is certainly not concerned about our state's environment and future generations that will live here. Let's have solar gardens.
Tim Reckmeyer inside District4
April 11, 2015, 6:56 PM
I am all for Scott County allowing community solar gardens on private rural properties as a permitted land use. For those rural properties it provides them a secondary stream of income and moves us away from the dirty energy that pollutes our air and water. It'll create jobs and move us to a clean energy economy. By allowing solar gardens in Scott County we can keep more of our hard-earned dollars cycling through the state economy, providing an enormous economic boost and many development opportunities for our county.
Allen Frechette inside District3
April 11, 2015, 1:59 PM
Community solar gardens are an awesome opportunity to be able to provide pollution free, carbon free electricity. Climate change is all too real! If you don't understand the need to reduce our nation's contribution of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere you must read the national climate assessment released last year by our nations top agencies and experts at: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/
The underlying value of the land will dictate where these go as the cost for leasing or purchasing land will influence the cost of producing solar derived electricity. So, the concerns about displacing valuable farm land or developable land aren't real. Other factors include proximity to suitable transmission lines and sub-stations. Excellent locations for consideration would be on land that is not suitable for farming or municipal sewer and water extensions and there is such land south of Shakopee.
Community solar gardens will require a conditional use permit in cities or townships and conditions to ensure proper screening, erosion control and suitable vegetation are normal conditions, which can be enforced. I'd suggest that solar gardens be included as positive amenities for density credits for land development because they benefit society like parks and open spaces, by reducing air pollution and addressing climate change.
April 11, 2015, 1:23 PM
I am against supporting this principally because of the size. 20 acres of these would be an ungodly sight. Think about the windmills in the southwest corner of the state and realize that this will be significantly worse.
Additionally, it is unclear how the property will be maintained. It isn't clear if the land owner or the leasing company would be responsible but given the investment I suspect a majority of the site maintenance will fall to the leasing company and their interest will be in operating the equipment at peak efficiency instead of weighing the costs of making the field fit in with the surrounding area (can you even say that about 5 to 20 acres of ugly shiny collectors?).
I do not know but I wonder what the environmental impact of such a large installation would be. If this goes into a wooded area the loss of trees and wildlife habitat could be a concern. If this goes into open fallow fields than again wildlife habitat. If this goes into productive farm field that we lose the economic value of that land. If this goes into areas that are part of the build out than we lose homestead area for 20 years of longer.
Volker Petersen outside Commissioner Districts
April 11, 2015, 12:30 PM
I fully support the use of private, rual properties for solar gardens. As for restrictions, it would be nice if property owner would have to provide a natural sight barrier such as a hedge. However, if such a restriction would significantly reduce the planed installations, I would forgo this restriction in favor of increaseing the installed base of solar gardens.
April 9, 2015, 9:28 PM
I'm all for it! To design limitations, it would be helpful to know what the potential drawbacks could likely be. I think renewable energy is a necessity and should be embraced. I can think of an 80+ acre site right now that would be a perfect location! This is a site which is attempting permission for a use (gravel mining and asphalt) whose potential operator has admitted it would cause water contamination. Switching that ill-thought plan to this one would be fantastic! I'd love to pursue this and look forward to hearing more on this topic in general, as well. Thanks!
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