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Council considers regulating ground-mounted solar panels

By Ross Lees
Industrial ground mounted solar panel installations could be regulated in Prince Edward County then sent to all other municipalities in Ontario for review and endorsement.
Amid concerns they might be inhibiting future green energy projects, County council is prepared to request minimum property line setbacks under the Ministry of
Energy’s Green Energy Act for industrial-size ground mounted solar panels and a change to the building
code to reflect that request.
There has been growing concern among councillors about the random installation of industrial size ground mounted solar panels in the County, and they want some say in where and how those panels are installed.
Councillor Jamie Forrester voiced concern the County might be seen as putting stumbling blocks in front of future renewable energy projects if it continues to create rules and regulations.
“All we’re trying to do is establish a modicum of control on solar panel installation in the County,” said councillor Terry Shortt. “We just want to have a
say in what’s happening in our municipality.”
Councillor Kevin Gale supported Shortt.
“We’re not anti anything,” he said. “It’s just about placement. There have to be some rules about where they’re put up.”
Mayor Peter Mertens said it was incumbent on council to ensure the safety of any such installations in the County.
“We need to be able to control how they’re mounted, where they’re mounted and what they’re constructed of,” he said.
Councillor Brian Marrisett, who had expressed concern about inhibiting initiative on the part of renewable energy installation and installers, solved the issue when he proposed a slight change to the part of the motion requesting a building code change.
Marrisett proposed the motion be altered to read: “That a building code change request form be submitted to the building branch of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, to request a change in the code to recognize “a ground mounted solar PV panel installation of over 2 KW” as a designated structure.
Marrisett’s proposal differentiates between industrial solar panels and the smaller units used to supply energy for residential units, which was a major concern of councillors. These changes must now go before council for final approval.
Once the motion is drafted to everyone’s satisfaction, it is also recommended that it be sent to all other municipalities in Ontario for review and endorsement.

Filed Under: Local News


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