Darlington County Council sends solar farm ordinance back to planning commission

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – On the Darlington County Council agenda Monday evening was an ordinance regarding a plan for several solar farms in the county.

Council voted unanimously Monday to send the renewable energy ordinance back to the county Planning Commission, as members still aren’t happy with the current plan.

“I’m concerned about the future, my future,” said Laura McPhail. She lives near one of the proposed farms and said she still doesn’t trust what several representatives said last week about the chemicals used in the solar panels.

“I don’t want this to be another Flint, Michigan,” said McPhail. “My belief is, they’re toxic.”


At a meeting last week in Hartsville, several solar experts and a representative from DHEC met with council and assured citizens that solar is a safe and non-toxic source of renewable energy. McPhail said she’s still not sure.

“You know you can get it out there five years and it might be good,” explained McPhail. “But twenty years down the road, who knows what we’ll be inhaling or drinking or eating.”

“We wanna work together on these projects,” said Jon Davis, a developer with Capital Solar. Davis made his case again Monday evening to council and the citizens gathered at the meeting.

“I don’t want anybody to feel betrayed by anybody here,” said Davis “We’re not out here trying put up something that’s a negative to the environment or a negative to the community; we want everything to be a plus for everybody.”

Davis expressed concerns about the proposed changes to the ordinance, mostly about a new rule that solar farms must be at least 500 feet away from houses. The change was made after many people complained about the farms being so close to their homes.

Now the ordinance is headed back to the planning commission, but Davis said that’s not going to stop Capital Solar from doing its best to bring solar energy to Darlington County.

“Hopefully we can address some of the concerns that they have, get them worked out and we can all just work together as a community and a county to make this all happen,” Davis said.

Council Chairman Bobby Hudson said after the meeting that council plans to visit a solar farm in Darlington County to learn more about the proposed plans. That farm will open December 7th and council plans to be on hand to study its effects on Darlington County.