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St. Joseph County Recognized For Solar And Pollinator-Friendliness

Courtesy MACOG

St. Joseph County was recently recognized for being “solar-friendly” and for protecting pollinator habitats in its development projects. The county received the SolSmart Gold designation for meeting national benchmarks to encourage the growth of solar energy. 

SolSmart helps local governments meet those national benchmarks by streamlining zoning approvals and reviewing planning and zoning guidelines. St. Joseph County was recognized for having efficient permitting and zoning processes and training staff on solar energy codes, among other things.

Most notably, the county was recognized as the first in Indiana to include a “pollinator-friendly” requirement in its zoning ordinance. 


Bill Shalliol, executive director of economic development for the county, said that means projects like the St. Joseph Solar Farm in Granger have to include vegetation around solar panels that keeps the land healthy and productive.


“A lot of places either put just gravel down or just leave it as barren dirt, but the pollinator-friendly plantings really serve to rejuvenate the soil,” he said.


Shalliol said county officials are excited to have the designation and anticipate the announcement of larger solar projects later this year. 


Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo.


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Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.
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