Currituck County will likely revisit the policy in the future, though an exact date has not been set. Edwards said the policy does not mean Currituck is not taking an anti-solar energy stance.
“The board just wants to take a step back and take a comprehensive look at solar projects and solar farms and make sure we’ve got our policies in the right order,” Edwards said.
The policy enacted makes it more difficult for businesses and residences to tap into the sun’s energy through solar farms, Rachel Weber, campaign organizer at Environment North Carolina, said.
“(The solar farms) certainly do protect our clean air and clean water,” Weber said. “Meanwhile, they provide thousands of local jobs; they increase the reliance on the grid and are really important for economic development in North Carolina, especially in rural areas.”
North Carolina ranked fifth in 2016 for solar energy and gets about 3 percent of its electricity from solar energy, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
“As you can imagine there are many citizens on both sides of the issue,” Edwards said.
Citizens oppose the farms because they think they will decrease the nearby property values, destroy the wildlife and disrupt the landscape. Others support the farms because of the tax revenue they could bring to the county, Edwards said.
Weber said the land in this part of North Carolina has already been developed for agriculture, and if farmers want to sell their land to the solar companies for revenue, it is their decision as a landowner.
“Agriculture is obviously really important for North Carolina for jobs and for our food,” Weber said. “But if the energy alternative is some polluting power plant that is toxic to the air that we breathe and the water that we drink, well, that’s not visually appealing either.”