Farmville council sets some rules for solar farms

Published 7:50 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023

After months of discussion, the Farmville Town Council voted to adopt an ordinance for the town to receive money from solar farms. With no solar farms currently in the town, what does that mean?

At the November town council meeting, no one spoke for the public hearing and the ordinance got a unanimous vote to amend Chapter 25 Taxation of the Farmville Town Code to add Article XI Authorizing Revenue Sharing for Solar Energy Projects and Energy Storage Systems. To put it simply, now the town can make money off of any commercial solar farms that come into Farmville. 

The idea for this ordinance first appeared in the September work session. Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis brought the idea of creating this ordinance to the board as localities must have a revenue share ordinance in place in order to receive any tax revenue from a solar energy project. Before going forward with the ordinance, Davis asked the council if they were even interested in allowing a solar farm in town. 

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“I think that being open to opportunity is probably wise,” said Mayor Brian Vincent. “Whether or not you seize upon that opportunity at the moment is up to the council’s discretion but at least leaving the door open is probably good.” 

Farmville expanding borders? 

The council agreed as there are a few open spots in the town that could potentially be used for a solar farm in the future. They also mentioned a possible scenario of the town expanding its borders down the road and acquiring one that way. 

According to Davis, this ordinance has no effect on the approval of solar farms. It does not require any solar farms to come to the town. It just means if one does the town can get money from it. With this ordinance, developers will still need to come before the council for a conditional use permit. Davis will also work with the developers for a siting agreement to be brought before the council. This ordinance will not affect how easy it will or will not be to put in a future solar farm in Farmville. 

“The localities that are doing this are mostly rural counties taking advantage of this,” said Davis. “This is a way for the town to get some type of revenue from that as well outside of the property owner.”