Cortland County Planning Board approves solar moratoriums for Preble, Freetown

The Cortland County Planning Board met Wednesday night to discuss the future of solar energy installation in the towns of Freetown and Preble.

Both the Preble Town Board and the Freetown Town Board submitted applications to establish a moratorium on non-residential freestanding or ground-mounted solar energy.

Preble proposed a six-month moratorium while Freetown proposed a one-year moratorium, one year being the maximum cap.

Both towns recognized the environmental and economic benefits of harnessing solar energy but cited the need for a local law to regulate the installation of solar energy to ensure any and all systems meet compliance standards.

As stated in their application for the establishment of a moratorium, the town of Preble “recognizes that solar energy is a clean, readily available and renewable energy source. Development of solar energy systems offers an energy source that can prevent fossil fuel emissions, reduce the Town’s energy demands and attract and promote green.”

However, the Town Board also recognizes that formal by-laws are needed to “protect the interests of the Town, its residents, and businesses […and] to promote the effective and efficient use of solar energy systems.

The Cortland County Planning Board unanimously approved both applications, though the board recommended that Preble adjust its proposed law to allow for rooftop solar panels during the moratorium.