GREENSBURG – During a three hour, standing-room-only meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals Wednesday evening, Francisco Galeano of RWE Clean Energy gave a presentation about a proposed “solar farm” project, with a question and answer session after.

The purpose of the meeting was to allow RWE Clean Energy an opportunity to provide information and answer questions from the BZA and the public.

The RWE Clean Energy Solar Farm Project involves 1,700 acres of land north of Greensburg.

RWE proposes leasing the land from the landowners and erecting solar panels on the acreage.

When the panels are all in place (1 to 2 years after the project begins), the energy generated will go back into the electrical grid.

The lengthy conversation was punctuated with questions such as “What will happen if the panels catch fire?” and “What will the solar farm do to our property values?” and “What about the noise?” and were interspersed with microphone issues and emotional outbursts.

Much of the evening was spent in rehashing finer points of the project, with special attention given to the process of decommissioning the solar farm, RWE’s history and the alleged contradiction regarding information posted on the RWE Clean Energy website and its German mother company’s (RWE AG) website.

Using the rooftops of buildings as an alternate placement for the solar farm panels was discussed, as was the nature of the vegetation screen planned to enclose the site and potential drainage issues created by the farm.

Decatur County Farm Bureau President Nick Wenning shared the results of a recent member policy survey showing 85.8% of the 1,000 members who responded were opposed to property owners leasing their ground for solar projects.

The survey also asked members to rank their concerns in the county.

“Solar was their first concern,” he said.

Toward the close of the session, Andrew Stewart, who is in favor of leasing his land for use in the solar farm project, said, “We are not selling this ground. This ground will continue to be in our family’s name. How many times have farmer’s had a reduced harvest because of not enough rain? With solar, we can continue to reap a harvest regardless of the weather.”

He also said he believes there will be solar farms built in Indiana in the coming years and that he would rather capture that tax revenue before it goes to another county.

The debate continued until 10:10 p.m. at which point the Board ended the meeting. No votes were taken and no decisions were made.

The proposed solar farm is in the initial stages of development and several hurdles will need to be cleared before construction could begin.

For more information about RWE Clean Energy, visit or contact Senior Development Manager Francisco Galeano at

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-651-0876 or email

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