Hobart (IN) Board of Zoning Appeals approves city’s first solar panel business March 5, 2012Posted by Laura Arnold in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Uncategorized.
Tags: Brad Wilson--Hobart Solar LLC, Hobart Solar LLC, Lincoln Solar LLC, NIPSCO feed-in tariffs
Posted: Thursday, March 1, 2012 11:00 pm
HOBART | The Board of Zoning Appeals said yes Wednesday to Hobart’s first solar generating plant.
The board unanimously approved a conditional use petition after a public hearing where a few residents asked questions but offered no negative feedback.
Hobart Solar LLC, a Minnesota-based company, plans to erect 4,576 solar panels on about 10 acres of a 50-acre parcel one-fourth mile from the northwest corner of Liverpool Road and 49th Avenue, petitioner Brad Wilson said.
The project, which could be built as early as this summer, would consist of modules — they would collect solar rays that would be converted to energy — and an equipment pad.
The entire project would be enclosed with a fence, Wilson said.
Environmentalist Sandy O’Brien, a Hobart resident, asked that the project be placed toward the front of the property, near 49th Avenue, away from an Indiana Department of Natural Resources managed nature preserve.
“I hope this is a win, win for Hobart,” O’Brien said.
Wilson said the intent is to place the project closer to 49th Avenue but the exact location will be determined at a future Plan Commission meeting.
The City Council at its meeting Feb. 15 set the stage for the public hearing by approving a new renewable energy ordinance for the city, City Planner A.J. Bytnar said.
That ordinance spells out regulations for future businesses such as the proposed solar generating plant on 49th Avenue, Bytnar said.
The Plan Commission on Feb. 2 agreed to give Hobart Solar LLC a favorable recommendation to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
The project will now go back before the Plan Commission for site plan review, Bytnar said.
If Hobart officials approve the plans, the solar power project would be the second of two planned for the area by the company, which also goes by Lincoln Solar LLC.
The Merrillville Town Council in late January unanimously approved a variance allowing Lincoln Solar LLC to erect 6,800 solar panels to produce electricity, which would be sold to NIPSCO.