Developers withdraw application for solar farm in western Rowan County

Developers withdraw application for solar farm in western Rowan County
The county is now home to several solar farms, like this one on Highway 70 west of Salisbury. (Source: (David Whisenant-WBTV))

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - The developers planning to build a 400 acre solar farm in western Rowan County have withdrawn their application, according to Rowan County Commission Chairman Greg Edds.

The news came in the form of an email to commissioners following Monday’s night’s meeting.

The proposal had been presented by China Grove Solar, and would have involved the building of a 65 megawatt (AC), 400 acre solar farm along sections of the 700-2300 Block of Neel Rd., 5000 Block of Sherrills Ford Rd., and the 200 - 500 Block of Old Bradshaw Rd.

China Grove Solar was requesting a conditional use permit to allow for the solar farm on land that is primarily zoned rural agricultural.

Many residents were opposed to the project, citing the size of the solar farm, property values, and aesthetics for the area. Approximately 200 acres of trees would have been taken down to make room for the project, according to a representative of the applicant.

In the letter, Latham Grimes of Cooperative Solar LLC writes: “Although our experiences with solar facilities has caused us to conclude that China Grove Solar would be an asset to the community and not burden neighbors, we hereby request to withdraw the CUP application for the 65 MW solar farm submitted by China Grove Solar.”

Also on Monday night, commissioners stopped further development of solar farms across the county for six months.

The action was taken during the commission’s meeting on Monday.

The moratorium will be in effect until April 7. During that time, the Rowan County Planning Board time will look at issues related to solar energy systems, consider development standards and establish recommendations for text amendments to the county’s zoning ordinance.

The moratorium does not affect solar panels on homes or businesses, but instead, is placed on applications to establish or expand ground-mounted solar energy systems within Rowan County’s planning jurisdiction.

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