Pulaski County to Craft Rules on Solar Energy Development, As Interest Builds

As Pulaski County finalizes updates to its wind turbine regulations, officials are now turning their attention to solar panels. Building Department Assistant Karla Kreamer told the plan commission Monday that the county has started to get some interest in solar development.

Kreamer said that few, if any, counties in the area cover solar panels in their zoning ordinances. But she and Building Inspector Doug Hoover have used what information they could find to start putting together some possible language.

One topic that was discussed Monday is what should happen to the solar panels once they reach the end of their lifespan. The initial proposal had decommissioning requirements, but plan commission member Lawrence Loehmer wasn’t sure that it’s fair to put those in place for energy developments but not other building projects. “At some point, you’re going to be in a lawsuit because Jim built a building and he didn’t have to put money aside to decommission his building, and we’ve got a building at Monterey that’s falling down that nobody put money aside to decommission the building,” he said. “So is that part of what the county wants to do now is put into the law that somebody has to decommission something at the end of its life cycle?”

Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer suggested having the county’s technical review committee work on the details of the new rules, rather than the full plan commission. He agreed to work with Hoover and Kreamer to assemble a list of stakeholders to help work on the rules.

Hoover felt that there’s a potential for a lot of revenue from solar development.