A company has been given the green light by a state board to construct a solar project in Hardin County.
ibV Energy Partners received conditional approval from the Kentucky State Board on Electric Generation Transmission Siting for its Rhudes Creek Solar Project near Cecilia.
According to a news release, the board gave conditional approval for a 100 megawatt facility on 1,072 acres along Hardinsburg, South Black Branch and Hansborough roads. It also conditionally approved the construction of a 1.5 mile overhead transmission line that will connect the project to LG&E and KU’s network, the release said.
The conditional approval is contingent on approval of a conditional use permit from Hardin County Board of Adjustments.
A hearing on the matter has been postponed at the request of ibV Energy to further address the community’s concerns fire safety and setbacks about the project, ibV Vice President of Business Development Robin Saiz said in an interview Thursday.
“We’re researching and trying to work with the local folks on how we can answer all those questions, and answer them satisfactorily for the county,” he said.
Saiz said he and other executives are connecting with state level officials and local fire chiefs and other solar industry experts to determine best practices and standard operating procedures before resubmitting the application and getting a new hearing date.
“We’re kind of putting together what the answers are for some of those concerns and I feel like when we have a satisfactory answer” the company will resubmit, he said.
Although the siting board approved the setbacks at 300 feet, Saiz said he is continuing to work on other solutions, including increasing the setback, for this project to appease community concerns.
“At the beginning I committed to working with the county and working with the community to address their concerns,” he said. “We’re going to increase the setback.”
The siting board ruling also addressed another community concern by having third-party access and recommend approval for the project, Saiz said.
“In previous meetings, the public objected saying well, ‘You guys paid for that,’ ” he said. “Well, everything done here was done by a third party that we weren’t paying for.”
In its approval, the third party evaluation reviewed compatibility with scenic surroundings; impact on property values; anticipated noise levels; impact on roads, railways and fugitive dust; economic impact on the affected region and the state; local planning and zoning requirements; and impact of transmission system.
The conditional approval is “good momentum moving forward,” Saiz said.
The Rhudes Creek Solar project is the first of three proposed solar farms in Hardin County to undergo the public scrutiny process.
Hardin Solar was denied 3-1 a conditional use permit by the Hardin County Planning and Zoning Commission after a seven-hour long Jan. 18 meeting.
A group organized to fight the solar projects, Hardin County Citizens for Responsible Solar, and other community members spoke in opposition to the plan at the meeting.
Hardin Solar and the property owners are appealing that decision in Hardin Circuit Court.
Candela Renewables, the company behind the Stonefield Solar Project, held an public information session in November.
Previously, ibV Energy and property owners from which they lease, challenged the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision to deny its conditional use permit. The ruling remanded the process back to the county level to start anew and allowed for the conditional use permit to be heard by the Board of Adjustments this time around.
Saiz believes the company still is a couple months away from getting back on the Board of Adjustments agenda.
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