Agricultural structures on land that is protected by an Agricultural Preservation Restriction held by the Commonwealth require MDAR's prior written approval which is granted through our COA process. Per the terms of the Agricultural Preservation Restrictions, only agricultural structures may be constructed on APR land. In order for a renewable energy system to qualify as an “agricultural structure” the majority of the energy generated must support the agricultural needs of the farm. This is described in Section III 8 of the guidelines which states that “the Renewable Energy System must have either a rated annual output capacity (kWh or BTUs) not greater than 2.0 times the documented historical or projected annual agricultural energy (kWh or BTUs) use on the APR land or the Agricultural Operation.” This is not a new approach but simply codifies MDAR’s existing policy in the same policy format as other MDAR APR program policies. Denials of all COAs, including ones for renewable energy systems, are appealable to the Agricultural Lands Preservation Committee (ALPC).
As part of our commitment to the “APR Program - Looking Forward” process MDAR is sharing these guidelines with the public to provide opportunities for comment.
MDAR will then revise the policy, as needed, based upon the public’s feedback. MDAR will then bring a revised policy to the ALPC for their comment, approval, and hopefully their adoption of the policy.
Written comments on the Guidelines should be submitted to the MDAR Comment Webportal.
Comments are due by 5 PM on March 14, 2018.