LETTER
Solar is needed, but farmland preservation is also important

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 20, 2022

As solar arrays become more common in Kentucky and across the nation, our community must decide how to allow this clean energy source to be utilized here in Boyle County without damaging prime farmland (as identified by the Natural Resources Conservation Service) and our agricultural heritage.

Smart Growth Boyle strongly supports the collection of solar energy as a means to move away from fossil fuels. We must move to clean fuels immediately to curb carbon emissions and turn the tide on climate change.

The issue here is where to place solar panels to facilitate collection while also preserving farmland and other green space.

We support the preservation of farmland and do not want to see more agricultural land go out of production. Boyle County has one of the highest percentages of lost farmland in the state. If you look at agendas from the past year of P&Z meetings, you’ll see that the majority of zone changes were from Agriculture to Residential, Business, or Industrial. Every time a farm gets used for something else, it means not only loss of food production but also loss of habitat for insects, including pollinators crucial to food production. And it means loss of the green space that attracts visitors, new residents, businesses, and industries to Boyle County.

We hope solar arrays can be confined to areas already zoned industrial and other appropriate sites which do the least harm to farmland. In addition, we propose that companies erecting solar panels be required to use native plants beneath and around the array, and if the panels are removed, that the land be reclaimed with native plants. We also propose that permission be required for tree removal.

We support the recommended amendments to the zoning ordinance with the above requirements added.

Smart Growth Boyle Steering Committee

Sarah Vahlkamp
Sallie Bright
Anne Ferguson
Charles Ferguson
Katie Bright
Michael Hamm
Ben Miles
Fran Halloran
Neil Eklund
Alexis Angolia
Damon Thompson
Bunny Scutchfield
Scott Scutchfield