Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Commission: Kittitas County should ban solar panels on farmland

Ellensburg landowner and Microsoft employee Jay Pittenger stands on his land that Tuusso Energy wants to lease for a solar farm, March 20, 2018. The tract has not been used to grow crops. It is one of five sites, belonging to four different landowners, where Tuusso Energy wants to put solar panels. The proposed solar farm has stirred controversy in the county, as did a ridge-top wind farm shown in the distance. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)
Associated Press

ELLENSBURG – The Kittitas County Planning Commission has recommended prohibiting commercial solar facilities from prime agricultural farmland.

The Ellensburg Record reported the planning commission will present its recommendation to county commissioners, who will make a final decision on new regulations.

Last year, the county in central Washington passed a moratorium on commercial solar projects after rejecting a proposed solar project. The moratorium will expire in July or when new rules are in place.

Meanwhile, a state energy panel is reviewing a proposal by Seattle-based Tuusso Energy to build five new photovoltaic facilities, encompassing about 200 acres of farmland outside Ellensburg. The Columbia Solar Projects is expected to generate about 25 megawatts of power from the five locations.

The state panel will make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say.