Bost leads SOLAR Act to limit USDA funding for ground-mounted solar energy systems

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) sponsored legislation that would establish guidelines for solar panel projects on farmland funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Securing Our Lands And Resources (SOLAR) Act, H.R. 7923, would ensure that America’s rural communities have a say in the approval process for solar panel projects, while also still giving farmers the flexibility to utilize renewable energy on their operations, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Bost’s staff.

Additionally, H.R. 7923 would require that funding recipients have soil remediation plans in place and the funding secured to remove the solar panels upon project completion, the summary says.

“We are losing precious and productive farmland that is being used up, acre after acre,” Rep. Bost said. “That has a big impact on America’s agricultural supply chain, our food security, and our local economies. The worst part is, many local communities aren’t allowed to have a say in what land is designated for solar projects. 

“My legislation puts the power back into the hands of our local communities by allowing them to determine what’s best for the area, not bureaucrats in Springfield,” he added.

Rep. Bost on April 10 sponsored H.R. 7923 with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Brad Finstad (R-MN) after Illinois became one of the first Midwest states to strip zoning authority from local governments in determining if solar panel projects were right for their communities, according to the summary.

The bill is under consideration by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.