Michigan to allow commercial solar panels on more farmland

An aerial view of part of the Lapeer Solar Park (PRNewsfoto/DTE Energy)
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) (6/3/2019) - Michigan officials have decided to allow solar panels for larger commercial solar arrays to be built on more farmland around the state.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell announced Monday that the department has decided to allow land enrolled in the Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program to be used for such solar power projects.

McDowell says in a statement the change "will not result in a loss of useable farmland" and will provide a "new opportunity for Michigan's farmers to diversify."

The land preservation program provides tax incentives to landowners who keep properties for agricultural use. Michigan says about 3.4 million acres of farmland currently are enrolled in the program and developers were having trouble finding farmland for large solar projects.

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