Jeff Davis looking to regulate solar energy projects

Published 10:51 am Thursday, November 17, 2022

The Jeff Davis Parish Police Jury is working to create a new parish ordinance aimed at regulating renewable energy production plants wanting to locate in the parish.

“The idea is not to stop the people,, but to have an ordinance in place so that we can get these corporative people coming in and making good cooperative citizens in Jeff Davis Parish,” Police Jury President Steve Eastman said Wednesday.

Eastman said the parish has received correspondence from several renewal energy companies interested in building large-scale solar projects to generate electricity for resale in the parish.

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Until now, the parish had no rules regulating the way solar energy projects can operate in the parish, Eastman said.

Members of the police jury’s ordinance committee met with legal counsel on Wednesday to review a draft proposal of an ordinance regulating the businesses.

No final decision was made, but a second meeting will be held Nov. 30. Jurors hope to have a final ordinance in place by the end of the year.

As proposed the ordinance lays out requirements for companies that want to build solar developments in the parish including requiring maximum panel heights not to exceed 15 feet and noise no greater than 65 decibels. The structures cannot also not be located within 500 feet of any house, church or other occupied structure.

“We want businesses to come, but we want them to be safe, efficient and attractive,” Eastman said.  “We don’t want them to be an eyesore.”

Solar developments will be required to be located in areas zoned light industrial.

Minimum sites cannot be less than 10 areas and must include at least 50 feet of a vegetative buffer, including grass or other vegetation. A six-foot security fence must also be placed around the entire panel area and panels cannot be visible when driving pass.

Solar companies will also be required to maintain general upkeep and meet all standard building codes, fire safety codes and other regulations.

Companies must submit a conceptual plan to include a decommissioning plan for preliminary approval before moving forward with all other applications and permits. Application and permit fees are to be determined.

The parish engineer can periodically inspect the property for any violations of the ordinance,