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  • Iberia’s municipal council will vote on whether to extend the municipality-wide moratorium on solar farms for another year.
  • According to the municipality’s president, Larry Richard, the ban was originally introduced because there was and continues to be no regulation of solar farms in the municipality of Iberia.

TRANSCRIPT OF THE MISSION:

“It’s basically just two panes of glass with a bit of magic in between.”

Wyatt Stoute, a sophomore at the University of Louisiana—Lafayette (UL), is spending his summer as a student research intern.

“What really interests me most at the moment is degradation, because solar panels can be damaged by wind, environmental influences, etc.”

Through his collaboration with Dr. Terrence Chambers at UL’s College of Engineering, Stoute made the cover of La Louisiane magazine.

“Solar energy really fascinated me because it can not only produce electricity, but also processed heat,” Stoute explained, “which many factories and many industries can use.”

Although a multi-billion dollar First Solar solar panel manufacturing facility is currently being built in Iberia Parish, many residents do not support solar farming.

On a Facebook page titled “No solar energy for industry and public facilities in the municipality of Iberia,” people with this view express themselves, pointing to “the associated risks to health, fire, sewage, the environment, the municipality and its people.”

“We haven’t seen anything that has caused major problems,” said Robert Bentley, facility coordinator for UL’s solar lab. “The big downside to solar is that it’s intermittent, so electricity storage has to catch up with solar before it becomes a threat to anything.”

This Wednesday, the Iberia Municipal Council will vote on whether or not to extend the temporary ban on solar farming to the entire municipality. Here is the exact wording of the agenda:

Summary No. 127: (Presented by James P. Trahan, District 8)
A resolution amending Resolution No. 2024-23 and extending the temporary moratorium on the development, establishment and/or construction of solar farms in the unincorporated areas of Iberia Parish for an additional period of one year, specifically until August 26, 2025.
Note: A request for suspension of the rules is required as this point was not considered by the Joint Committee.

According to the municipality’s president, Larry Richard, the ban was originally introduced because there was and continues to be no regulation of solar farms in the municipality of Iberia.

Richard also says that the fact that this item is on the agenda “doesn’t mean we want or don’t want anything. We just want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for the people of Iberia Parish.”

The Iberia Town Council will meet on Wednesday, July 10, at 6:00 p.m. at the Iberia Courthouse.