Help us protect agricultural-forestry zoned land from large, industrial-scale solar developments
Page County , VA
In 2018 Page County, VA was targeted by solar developers. The Shenandoah Valley is of course no place for industrial-scale solar. After 4 years, Page County united and put in a place a strong solar ordinance to protect the environment and their community.
Situated in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Page County is a small, rural county with beautiful landscapes and entry corridors to popular tourist attractions such as Shenandoah National Park and Luray Caverns. Farming and tourism are its main economic drivers. These assets were threatened by the large expanses of proposed utility-scale solar projects.
The people of Page County did not give up until their county was protected.
A dedicated group of Page County citizens opposed utility-scale solar power plants on agricultural land and worked tirelessly for several years to educate the public and the elected officials to restrict these projects in their county.
Overhead View from Northwest of Luray - Cape Solar Project
Page County joined forces with Citizens For Responsible Solar.
After three years of opposition to utility--scale solar projects, Page County citizens joined forces with Citizens For Responsible Solar, who has been leading the effort for responsible solar policies. Citizens For Responsible Solar worked with Page County citizens to ensure transparency and integrity in the process and secure approval of the strong solar ordinance by the Board of Supervisors.
70% said NO to industrial solar in Page County!
Enormous utility-scale solar power plants don’t belong in Page County. The purported benefits are not worth the destruction of their valuable farmland and the beautiful landscapes that support our agriculture and tourism economy. They offer few permanent jobs, minimal tax revenue, and no electricity for local use. Unlike rooftop solar supported by many, these massive industrial eyesores will have an adverse effect on neighbors, wildlife, and productive farm soils.
After several years Page County has been working hard to protect their county, environment and community.
Cape Solar - (559 acres) was denied by the Planning Commission in Sept 2018, and the Board of Supervisors denied the project in a tie vote in Sept 2019.
Dogwood Solar (340 acres) denied by the Planning Commission in Sept 2018, but approved by the Board of Supervisors in April 2019. No development to-date.
In Oct 2019, Page County issued “a moratorium on all commercial/industrial renewable energy applications until an ordinance is adopted.”
In Dec 2020, the previously denied Cape Solar project was resubmitted despite the moratorium, but the application was not made public until a month later.
In Oct 2020, a solar ordinance was finally approved in a 9-to-1 vote by the Planning Commission after a year-long collaboration with a professional planning consultant and public input.
At the Dec 15 2020 public hearing and the Jan 2021 BOS meeting, over 50 citizen comments expressed support for the protective solar ordinance draft as presented by the Planning Commission.
June 2022, Page County adopts a solar ordinance: https://pagevalleynews.com/supervisors-adopt-page-countys-first-solar-ordinance-after-four-years-of-deliberation/
Key provisions in the ordinance:
The ordinance includes provisions to govern small, medium, commercial and industrial rooftop, as well as utility-scale solar operations. Pages 3-4, Section 125-72 and 125-73.
Decommissioning costs must be estimated by a licensed professional engineer with experience in the removal of solar facilities. The decommissioning cost must not include any reduction for salvage value. Page 6, Section 125-74, Para 6.
“The acreage coverage of a utility-scale solar facility shall be a maximum of 200 acres.” Page 8, Section 125-76, Para B-1.
“The percent of acreage coverage for a facility shall not exceed 65% of the total solar facility site (i.e. a site with 200 acres of coverage area must include a minimum of 308 acres of total solar facility site area and a project that total 250 acres would be allowed 162.5 acres or less of coverage.” Page 8, Section 126-76, Para B-2.
“No utility-scale solar facility shall be located within two (2) miles of another existing or permitted utility-scale solar facility unless the combined acreage coverage is 200 acres or less.” Page 8, Section 126-76, Para B-4.
“Utility-scale solar facilities shall minimize and avoid locating on farmland with soils categorized as Prime Farmland and Farmland of Statewide Importance. No site shall have more than 50% of soils identified as Prime Farmland and Farmland of Statewide Importance.” Page 8, Section 126-76, Para B-7.
“To preserve forest resources, Utility-scale solar facilities shall be located outside forested areas as identified and defined in the Comprehensive Plan and by a Virginia State certified forester.” Page 8, Section 126-76, Para B-8.
“Utility-scale solar facilities shall not be located within 200 feet of historic and cultural resources as defined and listed in the Comprehensive Plan.” Page 8, Section 126-76, Para B-9.