Local

Union board gets ahead of curve by approving solar energy ordinance

Decommissioning and other requirements outlined

The village of Union's board of trustees approved its own solar ordinance during its January meeting.
The village of Union's board of trustees approved its own solar ordinance during its January meeting.

As solar energy proposals continue to make progress across McHenry County, the village of Union Board of Trustees voted to approve its own solar ordinance without opposition Tuesday.

Under the terms of the ordinance, solar arrays and all solar farm components must be kept at least 100 feet from a property line or right-of-way. This requirement can be waived, but no part of a solar farm can be within 50 feet of the aforementioned items under any circumstance.

Fencing a minimum of 8 feet high with appropriate warning signage will be required on the property of projects. Lighting, unless required by the Federal Communications Commission or the Federal Aviation Administration, shall only be installed for safety and security purposes, according to the ordinance.

Reflection angles for solar collectors also shall be oriented in such a way that they will not project glare onto adjacent properties

Upon request by the board, the owner of a solar energy system must provide documentation within 30 days that the system still is in use. Otherwise, the owner will have 180 days to remove the solar energy system from the property.

The owner also must – on an annual basis or upon request from the village – submit a current operation and maintenance report to the village within 14 days. If this measure isn’t followed, the solar energy system must be removed within 180 days.

Decommissioning of solar panels must be performed in the event they are not used for 90 consecutive days. An owner or operator will have six months to complete this process.

The board may require the posting of a bond in the amount of 150 percent of the decommissioning cost or the establishment of an escrow account to ensure proper decommissioning is achieved.

Although Union is less than a square mile in area, solar projects already are being proposed in the village.

In August, the board heard a proposal from SolAmerica Energy to build a community solar garden on about 65 acres south of O’Cock Road.

According to village documents, the construction timeline for the project would be less than 16 weeks from start to finish.

Before its groundbreaking, SolAmerica would implement a financial mechanism for the estimated amount required to decommission the entire project were it to be abandoned before the proposed life of the site, village documents show.

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