As solar demand continues to grow in Virginia, we are seeing more and more counties across the state seeking guidance on regulating these projects in their community – and this is where the Center for Infrastructure and Economic Development (The Center) can provide assistance. The Virginia Clean Economy Act (“VCEA”), signed into law in 2020, requires Dominion Energy to deliver electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2045, and the same from Appalachian Power by 2050. The VCEA declares 16,100 MW of solar and onshore wind to be in the public interest. Wind and Solar will continue to grow in Virginia.
However, this demand is simultaneously being met by increasingly cautious attitudes towards solar development in Virginia communities. Local governments in Virginia struggle with balancing benefits of solar development against asserted concerns about the placement of utility-scaled solar facilities in traditionally agricultural and forested land. At the same time, other counties have begun to take advantage of the economic benefits that can flow to them by way of the siting agreements, revenue share ordinances and proffers that the VCEA has explicitly allowed. As a result, openness to solar development is a county-by-county matter in Virginia. The Center seeks to aide all communities struggling with these policies through access to balanced information and a team of experts.
Zoning ordinances, comprehensive plans, and solar policies are being written and amended in counties across Virginia in the face of solar opportunities and opposition. The Center is actively tracking these processes and seeking to offer guidance to county staffs where helpful. Please reach out to me or our Virginia Policy Advisor Jared Burden if The Center can be of assistance.