Scott County Board of Supervisors approves new solar ordinance

The vote happened last Thursday and passed by a vote of 4-1.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 10:27 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - On Sept. 15, the Scott County Board of Supervisors voted to initiate an ordinance that limits where solar panels can go on farm land. Ken Beck, John Maxwell, Tony Knobbe, and Brinson Kinzer voted in favor, with Ken Croken dissenting.

The ordinance essentially limits where solar farms could be placed based on the quality of soil and whether or not the land can be used for food, fiber, and fuel.

John Maxwell, one of the Scott County Board of Supervisors and owner of Cinnamon Ridge Farms, says he is in favor of solar energy, just not on an industrial level spanning acres upon acres.

“An individual, a farmer can have solar for his own business,” Maxwell said. “If he had one or two acres in his farm yard site for solar to run his business, such as your dairy operation, it is more than acceptable and allowable. It is not acceptable for to have your whole farm and solar and sell it all to the electric company.”

C-S-R, or corn suitability rating, is a way to gauge the quality of soil. The ordinance bases whether or not solar farms can be placed on this scale.

“CSR is basically a way of raising your soil, they go from zero to 100. and the worst soils would be zero, the best would be 100. so 60. and above, the best soils in the world in Scott County, are not allowed to have hundreds, if not 1000s of acres put into solar,” Maxwell said.

Alliant Energy has been opposed to this ordinance since the beginning and provided a statement to tv6 today. The full statement can be seen below:

Alliant Energy is disappointed in Scott County’s decision to approve the proposed solar ordinance.

Investing in solar energy now, will benefit the economic and environmental health of Scott County in the future through the following ways:

· Smart investment: Near-term costs to invest in solar creates long term savings for customers and communities. Solar energy has no fuel costs and costs less to operate.

· Economic catalyst: New solar projects create good-paying jobs, provide annual revenue for landowners and communities, and are a catalyst for attracting new business to the region.

· Healthy environment: Reducing the use of fossil fuels helps protect our natural resources in Iowa for decades to come.

Scott County businesses are actively working toward their environment, social and corporate governance (ESG) goals to reduce their environmental footprint. The solar ordinance greatly hurts these efforts and impacts the business community for years to come.

Alliant Energy is working with communities in Iowa to ensure all solar developments meet their needs and standards.

As outlined in our Clean Energy Blueprint for Iowa, we are accelerating our transition to cleaner energy for our customers. The transition to renewable energy requires a partnership between Alliant Energy, our customers, and the communities we serve. We look forward to furthering our partnership with the Scott County community in the future and finding a path that works for everyone.

Maxwell also urges companies such as Alliant or MidAmerican to push for solar farms within city limits rather than replacing farm land.