Solar energy is becoming a popular way of reducing the cost of electricity in Missouri.

Missouri has a multitude of solar farms, but Rep. Mike Haffner, R-Pleasant Hill, wants to look at how they are regulated. The co-chair of the state’s Joint Committee on Agriculture expresses concern that they are negatively affecting Missouri farmers.

“We want to make sure that when these solar panels reach the end of their life, their efficiency is no longer practical, they’re not producing electricity, that there’s a place that they can be put into a landfill that is environmentally safe,” Haffner said.

He says solar energy contracts do not take the farmer’s interest into consideration when the farm is no longer used for solar purposes. He says that solar farms are protected by law, but if the company folds, the farmers are going to be stuck with the concrete and solar panels.

“The farmer, the landowner, has got options if he wants to continue with that solar contract, great,” Haffner said. “He ought to be protected to turn it back into farmland if he so desires.”

The Republican from Pleasant Hill adds that there’s a loophole in Missouri statute that allows you to take your neighbor’s land not only to expand your solar farm, but to connect to the power grid.

“The definition of electric corporation, that is a long paragraph,” he said. “There is a comma person comma and what that means is that if you have a solar panel on your land, you are producing electricity, you have the definition of an electrical plant, you now have the power of conduction. That means you can take your neighbor’s land not only to expand your solar farm, but also to connect to the grid.”

From this committee, he hopes to pen legislation for the 2024 Legislative Session in Jefferson City.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.