Midwest Region County-level Agrisolar Policy
|Dekalb County, Illinois
|Piatt County, Illinois
|2018, amended 2022
|Small-sized solar energy systems are less than 20 acres in size and are called Solar Gardens by definition.
|No solar farm shall be erected on any lot less than 10 acres in size.
|Medium-sized solar energy systems are greater than 20 acres in size are considered Solar Farms by definition.
|No written restrictions on the maximum size of a solar power plant.
|No written restrictions on the maximum size of a solar power plant.
|Solar Allowed on Which Zoning Designations
|Solar Gardens are allowed in ALL Zoning Districts, and shall require a Special Use Permit. Solar farms are allowed as Special Use in the A-1 Zoning District, and shall require a Special Use Permit.
|Solar Farm. Solar Energy Systems, Commercial/Solar Farms, shall be permitted in the A1, AC, I-A district as a special use. Not allowed as a use in Residential Districts, Business Districts, Industrial Districts, or Interchange Districts other than I-A one.
|Solar on Agricultural Lands
|Solar Gardens are allowed in ALL Zoning Districts, and shall require a Special Use Permit whether the accessory or principal use of the property. Solar Farms are ground-mounted SES that are the primary use on the lot(s) on which it is located, designed for providing energy to off-site uses or export to the wholesale market. Solar farms are allowed as Special Use in the A-1 Zoning District, and shall require a Special Use Permit.
|Solar Farm. Solar Energy Systems, Commercial/Solar Farms, shall be permitted in the A1, AC, I-A district as a special use.
|Solar farms and solar gardens are allowed as Special Uses in the A-1 Zoning District, and shall require a Special Use Permit. Except as otherwise noted in this Section, they must comply with all required standards for structures in the district in which the system is located.
|Solar Farm. Solar Energy Systems, Commercial/Solar Farms, shall be permitted as a special use.
|Solar Energy Facility Application Requirements
|Special Use Permit Application:
i) Filing fee per requirements of the County
ii) Legal description of the property
iii) Outboundary plat of the property
iv) Site plan: A detailed site plan for both existing and proposed conditions must be submitted, showing location of all solar arrays, other structures, property lines, rights-of-way, service roads, floodplains, wetlands and other protected natural resources, topography, farm tile, electric equipment, fencing, and screening materials and all other characteristics requested by DeKalb County. The site plan should also show all zoning districts, and overlay districts.
v) Endangered Species and Wetlands. An SES developer shall be required to initiate a natural resource review consultation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) through the department’s online, EcoCat program. Areas reviewed through this process will be endangered species and wetlands. The cost of the EcoCat consultation will be borne by the developer.
vi) Legal Descriptions
vii) Landscape Plan
|Special Use Permit Requirement:
Narrative presenting satisfactory evidence showing that the proposed use of the real estate will not have a deleterious effect on the soil, such that the land could not later be restored to agricultural use; that the proposed use will have a minimal negative impact on the use of surrounding lands; that the granting of the proposed use will not encourage the spread of uses other than proposed and will not encourage mixed uses in the same general area.
Solar Farm SUP application requirements:
i) Applicable fees
ii) Two copies of all documents proving ownership or interest in the subject property
iii) A site plan
iv) A copy of the FEMA/FIRM map
v) A NRI/LESA report from the Piatt County Soil and Water district
vi) A site plan showing proposed conditions
vii) The applicant shall submit an acceptable weed/grass control plan
viii) Solar Farm Developers shall be required to initiate a natural resource review consultation through the IDNR
ix) An AIMA executed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the applicant
x) A map showing all subsurface field tile locations, as well as all surface drainage ditches
xi) A written demonstration shall be provided that the applicant is in the queue to acquire an Interconnect agreement
xii) All solar power plant applications shall be accompanied by a preliminary map and plan showing the roads and rights-of-ways
xiii) A decommission plan
xiv) Indemnification and Liability
|Ground- or pole-mounted SES shall not exceed a maximum height of twelve (12) feet, when oriented at maximum tilt.
|1) All components, except the interconnection point, installed as part of the solar facility shall be setback at least one hundred (100) feet from a property line or right-of way.
2) In addition, all components, except the interconnection point, installed as part of the solar facility shall be setback at least three hundred (300) feet from a property line or right-of-way of any property that is twelve (12) acres or less and has an occupied structure.
3) In addition to meeting the one hundred (100) foot or three hundred (300) foot minimum setback noted above, all components, except the interconnection point, installed as part of the solar facility must also be setback at least one hundred (100) feet for every three (3) feet of height of the SES, when oriented at maximum tilt from the nearest outer wall of any occupied structure not located on the subject property.
|The facility shall be set back 100 feet from the front and 50 feet from the rear property lines and 50 feet from the side property lines.
|Noise levels measured at the property line shall not exceed fifty (50) decibels when located adjacent to an existing residence or residential district.
|An erosion control plan shall be provided.
|Reflection angles for solar collectors shall be oriented such that they do not project glare onto adjacent properties.
|Top soils shall not be removed during development, unless part of a remediation effort. Soils shall be planted to and maintained in perennial vegetation to prevent erosion, manage run off and build soil. A plan must be approved by the Soil Water Conservation District and paid for by the developer. DeKalb County has a Noxious Weed Ordinance which is to be followed.
|All areas occupied by the facility that are not utilized for access to operate and maintain the installation shall be planted and maintained with a native shade-tolerant grass or other vegetation for the purpose of soil stabilization. The applicant shall adhere to the weed/grass control plan.
|No fencing is required however if installed on the property the fencing shall have a maximum height of eight (8) feet, and shall be a primarily woven wire or agricultural style fencing. The fence shall contain appropriate warning signage that is posted such that is clearly visible on the site.
|Perimeter fencing having a maximum height of 8 feet shall be installed around the boundary of the solar farm.
|Screening/ Vegetative Barrier
|Active SES shall be designed to conform to the DeKalb County Comprehensive Plan and to blend into the architecture of the building or may be require to be screened from routine view from public right-of-ways other than alleys. Screening may be required to the extent it does not affect the operation of the system.
|Decommissioning / Reclamation Plan
|Decommissioning Plan include:
1) Provisions describing the triggering events for decommissioning the project
2) A description of the methodology and cost to remove all above ground and below ground facilities of the approved Special Use Permit
3) Provisions for the removal of all above ground and below ground facilities
4) Methodology and cost to restore all areas used for construction, operation, and access to a condition equivalent to the land prior to the SES construction
5) A work schedule and a permit list necessary to accomplish the required work
6) Methodology to identify and manage any hazardous or special materials
7) Proof that the necessary amount and form of financial security has been received by the County in the form of an escrow account that names DeKalb County as the Beneficiary
8) A provision that the terms of the decommissioning plan shall be binding upon the SES owner or operator and any of their successors, assigns, or heirs
|A decommission plan shall be required to ensure that facilities are properly removed after their useful life. Decommissioning of solar panels must occur in the event they are not in use for 12 consecutive months, the operating company and/or land owners have six months to complete the decommission plan or the County will take the necessary decommission steps and all costs associated therewith shall be borne by the applicant. The plan shall include provisions for removal of all structures (including equipment, fencing and roads) and foundations, restoration of soil and vegetation and a plan ensuring financial resources will be available to fully decommission the site. The plan must include an estimate of the decommissioning costs certified by a professional engineer. The decommissioning estimate must exclude any estimate of salvage value. The applicant shall
provide the county with a new estimates of the cost of decommissioning the facilities every 5 years.
|Decommissioning / Reclamation Bond
|Proof that the necessary amount and form of financial security has been received by the County in the form of an escrow account that names DeKalb County as the Beneficiary. The amount of security shall be equal to the positive difference between the total cost of all decommissioning and restoration work and the net salvage value of all removed SES equipment or materials, plus a twenty-percent contingency. To determine that amount, the SES owner and the DeKalb County Board shall:
a) Obtain bid specifications provided by a professional structural engineer
b) Request estimates from construction/demolition companies capable of completing the decommissioning of the SES project; the DeKalb County Engineer, and an independent engineer of the County’s choosing, the Director of Community Development will review all estimates and make a recommendation to the DeKalb County Board for an acceptable estimate. DeKalb County reserves the right to pursue other estimates
c) Certification of the selected estimate by a professional structural engineer. All costs to secure the estimates will be funded by the SES owner.
|Decommissioning security financing shall be required by the county in order to assure the proper decommissioning of the site. This security financing should be in the form of an irrevocable letter of credit. The County Board may, in its sole discretion, agree to accept security, or a portion thereof, another form such as a bond or corporate guarantee.