by Jackie Nunnery
LANCASTER—The Lancaster planning commission on January 16 discussed how renewable energy, specifically solar farms, can address the energy needs of residents while keeping the agricultural and rural nature of the county.
The commission is studying ways to properly develop local solar farm ordinances by looking at what other counties have developed as well as a model ordinance for larger-scale solar energy projects in Virginia, and hearing from residents and solar developers.
Planning/land use director Brian Barnes said it is important for commission members to know “how the solar business looks from their perspective” and to ask any questions about “what works and what doesn’t.” In November, commission members also looked at the pros and cons of solar, including public comments, in preparation for the January meeting and the drafting of an ordinance.
Craig Adair, senior development manager with Open Road Renewables (ORR), walked the commission through the basics of photovoltaic panels, their installation and…