Solar facilities; permit by rule.
This legislation lowers the threshold for allowing solar projects to receive expedited permitting through Department of Environmental Quality from 150 megawatts to 50 megawatts. This means that projects over 50 megawatts will be subject to a more robust permitting process that includes a review of adherence with local comprehensive plans. This is wise as there is a lot of land at stake, and in the Shenandoah Valley, often that land plays a large role in our agriculture and tourism economy. Each megawatt of energy generated by solar usually requires 5-10 acres of land. So we’re talking about taking a closer look at projects ranging from 250 acres to 1500 acres. All solar project proposals we’ve seen in the Shenandoah Valley thus far have been less than 150 megawatts in size.
Introduced by: Delegate Michael Webert (District 18)