A group organized to educate residents of Hardin County about possible ramifications of multiple proposed solar projects is holding an informational meeting Thursday.
Hardin County Citizens for Responsible Solar hosts the meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Hardin County Cooperative Extension Service, 111 Opportunity Way off Ring Road in Elizabethtown.
“We’ll talk about and have some information at the meeting about how there very well could be some impact on some increased taxes for all the residents of Hardin County and also our relatively cheap electric bills,” said Keith Taul, one of the organizers of the group.
The purpose of the meeting is to inform the public about how five known projects could impact Hardin County residents in property values, food, conservation and other ways, Taul said.
“We just want everyone to understand it, to see it, to be informed,’ he said. “There’s power in that in understanding what it is.”
Information at the meeting will be presented by local business owners, engineers, realtors, accountant, a tax expert, pastor, farmers, a school principal and medical personnel, said Megan Taul, another organizer.
“We have a list of our presenters that are highly skilled people,” she said. “We’re not uniformed, uneducated people presenting the information.”
Three proposed solar projects are undergoing the government scrutiny process in order to be granted zoning changes, conditional use permits or both from Hardin County government.
iBV Energy Partners’ Rhudes Creek Solar project, Candela Renewable’s Stonefield Solar project and Community Energy’s Hardin Solar project all are at various points in the utility approval process that includes public meetings and hearings both locally and with the state Public Service Commission.
Hardin County Citizens for Responsible Solar has identified two other projects, Hansborough Valley Solar and Telesto, who have started the process of leasing land in the county.
All of the projects are proposed on land in and around Cecilia and Stephensburg.
“We’re not focused on this first one,” Taul said. “We’re looking at all of them together.”
Invitations to the group’s informational meeting have been sent to addresses in Cecilia and Glendale, Megan Taul said. The group also has gone door-to-door in some areas near proposed sites to spread the word.
“We felt like they needed to be informed,” she said. “That’s our goal is to inform people.”
At the meeting, the group also will share information about how to contact public officials and give an opportunity to sign a petition to institute an 18-month moratorium to pause procedures surrounding any solar projects in the county to allow for more research.
“All we’re trying to do is present the facts,” Keith Taul said. “We’re just trying to present it so that everyone will understand it so they can take action as needed with their local government and do what democracy is supposed to do.”
The Tauls encouraged any Hardin County resident interested in hearing more information to attend the meeting.
“Generally, we hope they leave with a very clear understanding of what industrial solar energy is, not just that it’s a carbon-free option but the underbelly of it — what are the other facts about it; what are the impacts for our community and them personally,” Keith said. “We want them to have a clear understanding.”
Gina Clear can be reached at 270-505-1418 or email@example.com.