Honeysuckle Solar Farm near complete amid pushback on future solar projects

NOW: Honeysuckle Solar Farm near complete amid pushback on future solar projects

SAINT JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- The Honeysuckle Solar Farm near New Carlisle, the largest solar farm in Saint Joseph County, is almost complete.

A representative from Lightsource BP, the developer behind the farm, was at Tuesday's Area Planning Commission meeting to share what they've learned about working with the county on the large solar project.

"We wanted to support some of those lessons learned from both sides," says Darrin Jacobs, a Director of Development for Lightsource BP.

Jacobs says there were many lessons to be learned as the 150-watt Honeysuckle Solar Farm took shape over more than a year of construction.

"Since we've started construction, we haven't had any complaints or issues," says Jacobs.

He says the little concern he's experienced from neighbors thus far is a reflection of the environmental benefits, rather than drawbacks the project will have, like the panels still keeping space for plants and animals.

"The ability to have pollinator-friendly plantings, to be able to still use it for agricultural purposes with sheep grazing, and to give the ground an opportunity, as some people discussed tonight, an opportunity to rest and increase the biodiversity within the soil in the area," Jacobs explains.

Although some residents want to see a larger setback for solar panels, believing proximity could be a health hazard.

"We proposed that they keep a smaller setback because there is really no health effects," says Jacobs.

Some at Tuesday's meeting said the Honeysuckle farm is not a fair comparison to other proposed solar developments because it's so remote.

Jacobs believes solar projects to come will likely be less impactful than critics fear.

"I think though that once communities see, and that's what we hope, is that our project will stand as sort of a model and folks will see it as a positive," Jacobs hopes.

The Honeysuckle Solar Farm should be in operation within the next few months.

Share this article: