Brewer is the latest Penobscot County community to temporarily prohibit large commercial solar developments after approving a few such projects in recent years.
Brewer city councilors unanimously approved a 180-day moratorium on large solar developments on Tuesday. The temporary ban was created to give city staff time to review and revise local rules for solar developments and potentially adopt new recommendations from state agencies that aim to improve the design and performance standards for solar projects.
The city’s temporary law does not apply to individual residents who wish to put solar panels on the roof of their homes, Councilor Michele Daniels said.
With the adoption of the six-month rule, Brewer joins several Maine communities that ceased allowing or placed restrictions on large solar developments for a variety of reasons. Some towns cited fears over how the solar panels will be safely decommissioned in future decades while others simply wanted to preserve undeveloped land.
Since first creating local regulations for solar developments in 2020, Brewer officials have approved five large solar projects in recent years, which are in various stages of development.
The most recent commercial project to gain approval was a 12-acre solar array off Arista Drive, behind Lowe’s Home Improvement, proposed by Andrew Kellar, founder of NH Solar Garden. Construction of that project, however, hasn’t begun after the city granted site plan approval in April 2022, according to Linda Johns, Brewer city planner.