Two work groups formed at the behest of the Caroline County Board of County Commissioners to study solar siting and tax issues held a joint inaugural meeting on May 25. The Work Groups heard information presentations from MACo Legal & Policy Counsel Les Knapp and Open Renewables President Cyrus Tashakkori.
The Commissioners formed the work groups in response to several utility scale solar projects that have been proposed in the county and want to make sure that land use and tax structures are in place to properly manage such projects going forward. The membership of the work groups is drawn from different stakeholder groups and includes county, agricultural, utility, and energy developer representatives.
Tashakkori provided an overview of: (1) how solar panels work; (2) the construction processes for installing and decommissioning utility scale solar sites; (3) operational impacts of solar sites; (4) taxation issues; (5) the status of utility scale solar in Caroline County; and (6) best practices for utility scale solar. Knapp discussed: (1) how the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) application process works; (2) CPCN process changes due to the passage of the 2017 MACo legislative initiative on solar siting (HB 1350); and (3) factors and issues the work groups may wish to consider in their deliberations.
The work groups are expected to issue recommendations and options to the Commissioners at the conclusion of their work in several months.