The Board of Carroll County Commissioners recently approved a zoning code amendment that would allow community solar projects on agricultural remainders between five and 20 acres. The amendment heads to the County’s planning and zoning commission for final approval.
Community solar allows consumers the option of purchasing solar energy produced by smaller solar arrays through subscriptions. This gives residents access to clean energy without having to install panels on their own property. In Maryland, community solar projects must have generating capacity under 2 megawatts. Anything larger is considered “utility-scale,” and subject do different rules and regulations.
Following a directive from the Commissioners, Carroll County staff reviewed the implications of community solar projects, and presented them at two Commissioner meetings. The amendment ultimately approved by the Commissioners would allow community solar projects on agricultural lands, within certain parameters. They include: mandatory decommissioning plans to ensure the land could be returned to agricultural use, environmentally friendly landscape practices, and more.
The County will seek input from interest groups such as agricultural land preservation officials and the Environmental Advisory Council before sending the amendment to the planning and zoning commission for approval.