What has happened?
In late February, Clark Coalition met with EKPC executives. At that meeting, we learned:
EKPC has put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop 200 MW of solar facilities per year in its service territory.
Proposals will come from merchant solar generators and from EKPC itself.
Why it Matters: Unlike the commercial solar developers, EKPC is not subject to planning & zoning oversight.
Get the Details
“...Now, it appears EKPC may be using its statutory powers to override the local process and bring to fruition a solar development that has been overwhelmingly rejected by Clark County’s citizens.”
Where We Stand
Clark Coalition supports solar applications on rooftops, reclaimed mine sites and appropriately-zoned industrial land.
We strongly oppose the conversion of Clark County’s world-class farmland for large-scale solar development – whether it’s by out-of-state developers or an out-of-touch utility.
Just a few of the reasons why Industrial Solar doesn’t make sense in Clark County...
Industrial Solar requires significant grading and removal of topsoil.
The foundation of Clark County’s agricultural sector is its world-class soils. Solar developers claim that their industrial solar facilities do not negatively impact soils. They say that pylons are simply driven into the ground, and their facilities “let the land rest.”
However, filings with the KY Public Service Commission reveal a different story: that solar site preparation involves extensive grading and removal of topsoil.
Industrial Solar diminishes neighboring and nearby property values.
Contrary to solar developers’ claims, industrial solar facilities significantly diminish the value of neighboring and nearby properties. Independent studies show that industrial solar facilities cause the value of neighboring and nearby properties to fall by up to 30%.
Hundreds of hard-working Clark County taxpayers would see the value of their homes decline – arbitrarily wiping out decades of investment and reducing the county’s tax roll.
Little tax revenue
Financial projections submitted by the solar developers reveal how little revenue industrial solar developments would produce for local taxing authorities.
The tax revenue from one developer’s project would total a fraction of 1% of the county and school district’s budgets.
Very few long-term jobs
By the solar developers' own admission, few long-term jobs would be created as a result of their industrial solar facilities.
On a recent radio show, a solar developer claimed that the free market was driving the increase in large-scale solar facilities.
The reality is that Industrial Solar is driven by government intervention in the market. Solar developers are heavily subsidized through federal tax credits.
The recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act increased these already-exorbitant tax credits to 30-50% and extended them for a decade. This will cost federal taxpayers an estimated $113 billion.
If that weren’t enough, the foreign and out-of-state solar developers want Clark County taxpayers to finance their projects through the issuance of local Industrial Revenue Bonds. This mechanism not only facilitates ultra-low borrowing costs, but reduces the amount of Kentucky state tax that the developers would otherwise pay.
The Energy is Not for Us
Why have foreign and out-of-state solar developers targeted Clark County and dozens of other communities around Kentucky?
Because our electric utility, East Kentucky Power Cooperative, is part of the 13-state PJM interregional grid. This allows the owners of Industrial Solar facilities to sell Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to east coast states to fulfill their mandates on renewable energy.
In its 2022 Integrated Resource Plan, East Kentucky Power Cooperative states: “The merchant solar facilities are not being built to serve EKPC load.”