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Discussion about solar arrays in Afton continues

Afton Planning Commission continued to look for the light at the end of the tunnel in regard to solar arrays. 

Planning Commission continued its discussion of solar arrays during its April 6 meeting.

Planning Commission has been working on developing a solar array ordinance for the past several months after receiving inquiries from residents about installing them. 

A solar array – a collection of solar panels – can generate and supply electricity in commercial and residential applications as a form of renewable energy. 

In both commercial and residential, the excess electricity can then be sold to the electric utility provider.

Afton is strictly looking at solar arrays from a residential point of view, meaning that commercial solar farms will not be considered with the exception of Afton’s industrial district.

Planning Commission is torn on how to regulate the solar arrays, whether it is by height, setbacks, square footage or by production. 

Last week, commissioners appeared to agree that the best way to regulate  solar arrays is by square footage. 

“We’re trying to regulate visual impact,” City Administrator Ron Moorse said. “The most clear way to do that, to me, is to regulate the amount of square footage.” 

Planning Commission continued its discussion to next month. 

“At the end of the day, we’re more concerned with the aesthetics of it, not so much the amount of energy generated,” Commissioner Scott Patten said. “But we have yet to come to any clever conclusion.” 

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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