State News

Panel votes against plans for Virginia solar power plant

Posted November 17, 2020 5:51 p.m. EST

— A Virginia planning commission has recommended denying a permit to developers who want to build a 1,000-acre solar power plant project.

The Culpeper Star-Exponent reported Tuesday that the Culpeper County Planning Commission made the unanimous recommendation last week. The matter will now go before the Board of Supervisors.

A Maroon Solar representative said in a statement that the Durham, North Carolina-based company was disappointed with the decision but would work to address the issues raised.

“We continue to believe our proposed solar project is good for Culpeper County," the statement said.

The $200 million project would encompass 1,792 acres of agriculturally zoned land formerly for timber production, the newspaper reported. The developers intend to place solar panels on 1,000 acres of the land, which is owned primarily by an out-of-state timber company.

Richard Dearing with West Virginia-based Pardee Virginia Timber 2LLC urged the planning commission to approve the “unobtrusive” project on his company’s land, writing that it would create jobs and revenue.

The project has been opposed by neighbors and history, conservation and environmental groups. Some have raised concerns about the project's impact on the area's historic “view sheds” around a Civil War site. It's the second recent, controversial utility-scale solar proposal in the county.

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