On behalf of, Concerned Citizens of Gloucester, we present the following suggestions and information pertaining to the Solar discussion for your consideration.
· A Virginia County made a requirement
in one of their CUP’s, for the
inclusion of an educational kiosk with a platform that overlooks the solar
fields so school kids can be bussed there for class. Suggest requiring the same where practical.
Suggest kiosk “factually represent” the pros and cons of such solar energy facilities,
including energy storage and path of energy transmission aspects.
· Suggest adding requirement that all
materials used in the construction of commercial solar facilities must be manufactured
in the USA. It may or may not be relevant, but Rapidan Service Authority has
required USA manufactured materials in the construction and repair of their jurisdiction’s
water and wastewater systems for years. Not sure if this is possible with solar
facilities, but it sure would help the Country.
· Suggest sustained soils testing
requirements for the life of the facility and as a requirement of the decommissioning
process. Suggest testing for every potentially harmful element contained in any
and all facility materials at least biannually. Including testing of all associated
storm water facilities and outfalls to rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds and streams
if a testing trail of contamination dictates such. Suggest including a
provision requiring testing after any cataclysmic event that causes breakage of
panels and other components containing potentially hazardous elements. Suggest
including provision for abatement and replacement of soils found to be
contaminated and for the removal of damaged and otherwise unserviceable components
within a reasonable time (maybe 30 days). Suggest requiring the County be
notified immediately in the event of damage to components containing toxic or
otherwise harmful elements.
· Suggest prohibiting the disposal of
any and all solar facility components, including contaminated soils, within the
boundaries of Gloucester County. Such disposal may very well upset the
projected lifespan of the landfill if left unchecked. Requiring recycling of
materials as the only option may cause issues if such recycling facilities are
not available for damaged or otherwise unusable components or when it is time
to decommission the facility. What will happen then? Suggest requiring a
detailed disposal plan.
· Several localities require seeding
and planting with pollinator friendly grasses and plants as part of landscaping.
Suggest requiring the same in Gloucester.
· Suggest fully exploring energy
revenue share options provided in the Code of Virginia, with significant focus
on the long-term revenue picture. Machines and Tools taxes will provide little
revenue and Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery Depreciation (if applicable)
will quickly decrease that revenue to nothing. Suggest clarifying how the
facility’s real estate will be taxed, i.e., commercial, agriculture, etc.
Suggest a requirement to review revenue sharing and other potential revenue
avenues every five or so years.
· Suggest requiring data supported water
usage estimates for construction and post construction operations. A lot of
residents rely on well water. If well drilling is necessary during construction,
the impact on nearby wells may need to be considered. If public water is used,
it may be prudent to know what long- and short-term impacts there may be on the
· Suggest requiring applicants to coordinate
with local emergency management staff and first responders to provide annual
materials, education and/or training on hazardous elements contained in the
facility and how to safely respond to and mitigate on-site emergencies.
· Suggest spelling out the acceptable
forms of surety for decommissioning, etc. and what happens to sureties when
ownership changes through sale, bankruptcy, etc. In other words, a way to
ensure the existence and availability of those funds throughout the life of the
· Suggest a requirement for power
generated by solar facilities in Gloucester to be used only in Gloucester in
the event of extended power outages.
· Suggest including below ground
fixtures, apparatuses and other components to those items that must be removed
· Suggest creating initiative to raise landowner awareness of the benefits and potential pit falls of entering into an agreement with solar companies. Maybe even requiring the landowner to acknowledge their awareness as part of the application process. In many instances throughout the country, landowners have been taken advantage of in various ways. See presentation on this topic at this link: http://wiseenergy.org/Energy/Solar/Leaseholder_Solar.pdf
We have included links to various Counties’ solar ordinances, to the Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation’s Utility-Scale Solar Ordinance Recommendations, and other informative information. We hope information found at these links and our suggestions will be helpful in the process of developing comprehensive rules for solar development in our County.
Kenny Hogge, Sr.
Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, Shenandoah Valley
Battlefields Foundation’s Utility-Scale Solar Ordinance Recommendations
Page County Solar Regulation (Draft) 11-17-2020
Culpeper County Solar Policy
Halifax County Solar Ordinance
The Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS), established in 1986.
New York Solar Law Model
Toxic Chemicals In Solar Panels