After a recommendation from the Planning Commission on August 3, the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors is now considering a new solar ordinance and policy for utility solar energy facilities.
The draft policy states the county’s preference for locating solar development in areas already developed with commercial and industrial land uses. It encourages dual use of the land (such as solar plus grazing or solar plus a parking lot) and discourages development on prime soils on agriculturally-zoned land and historic sites. There is also a cumulative cap of 1,800 acres in the county and per-site cap of 60 acres on agriculturally-zoned land. (Note: the per site cap does not apply to solar on planned development, or within industrial or public service zoning districts.)
Alliance’s Kim Sandum served on Rockingham’s board-appointed solar committee, which began meeting in January to discuss and work through the complex issues and considerations of solar siting. The Alliance has been researching best practices for land use planning and solar siting since 2018, and as a member of the committee, Kim was able to share information from our solar workshops and solar-based work in other counties in Virginia.