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Commonwealth's Counties

Important solar siting agreement legislation passes Senate

An important bill introduced by Delegate Keith Hodges relating to siting agreements for solar energy facilities has reported out of the Senate Local Government Committee and will now head to the Senate floor for consideration.

HB 1675 (Hodges) requires any applicant seeking to locate a commercial solar energy or storage facility  on any census tract meeting the eligibility requirements for an opportunity zone as designated by the federal Internal Revenue Service to execute a siting agreement with the host locality in which the census tract is located, prior to the issuance of a permit by rule or certificate of public need. The bill grants localities various powers in executing such siting agreement and contains certain requirements for the agreement provisions. The bill does not apply to any solar photovoltaic (electric energy) generation or storage facility that has received zoning or site plan approval, preliminary or otherwise, from the host locality on or before January 1, 2020.

HB 1675 essentially seeks to mimic the siting agreement process that localities already use for landfills.

This bill previously passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 89-7, and on Wednesday afternoon it passed the Senate with a substitute.  HB 1675 will now be reconsidered by the House of Delegates so they can deliberate and vote on the Senate’s new wording.

VACo supports HB 1675 and has spoken in favor of this important legislation throughout the General Assembly session.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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