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Controversy over proposed solar farm in Madison County

Posted at 7:08 PM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 19:08:41-04

MADISON CO. — Multiple communities are in an uproar over a proposed solar farm in Madison County. It would span between 700 to 1,100 acres and touch several communities: Anderson, Elwood, and Frankton.

Not only are some people who live near the proposed "Lone Oak Solar Farm" in Madison County concerned about their property losing value, but they're also worried about their livestock.

"All this water is going to come out into my pasture," DuWayne Walls, who lives near the proposed solar farm, said. "My cows are going to drink it. It's going to kill my grass, maybe."

"I've talked to Invenergy, and they told me there's no negative runoffs," Lee Walls, who also lives near the proposed solar farm, said. "We've done some research and research tells us different."

The company Invenergy needs the zoning board to rezone agricultural land between C.R. 1000 to C.R. 1300 North and C.R. 600 to C.R. 350 West for exclusive use to build the solar farm.

The debate has now escalated beyond solar panels.

"I think the county looks at this as a money maker for the county," Bill Auler, who lives near the proposed solar panel, said. "They're going to tax and make money from this. Look at other ways."

Neighbors will have a chance to propose another way when speaking to the zoning board at a public hearing April 23 at 9 a.m. in the Madison County Court.

Invenergy released a statement saying there is no evidence solar projects negatively affect property values.

Madison County was chosen because of its strong solar resource, access to the existing transmission grid and keen interest from the community and project participants.

Construction could begin in late 2022 or early 2023.