Cities Balk At Solar Expansion

For the second time in recent weeks commissioners in two of Polk’s smaller cities have put the brakes on expansion of solar power within their city limits.

The first roadblock occurred in Lake Alfred, where commissioners blocked a landowner’s attempt to change the growth map to allow solar panels instead of rooftops.

Next came action by the Bartow commissioners, which delayed action on another solar farm until they can figure out how or whether to go ahead with it.

Both proposals were proposed by Tampa Electric, which has been aggressive in expanding its solar power generating capacity.

There was a common thread in both city discussions.

There was a claim by some city officials—based on nothing specific—that solar farms would be incompatible with residential development.

There was also a practical growth regulation issue, which is that it is prudent to think carefully about how to site any new land use.

Bartow officials are scheduled to resume discussions with TECO at another public meeting next month.