Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 15. Department Of Environmental Quality
Chapter 60. Small Renewable Energy Projects (Solar) Permit by Rule
11/29/2021

9VAC15-60-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Applicant" means the owner or operator who submits an application to the department for a permit by rule pursuant to this chapter.

"Archive search" means a search of DHR's cultural resource inventory for the presence of previously recorded archaeological sites and for architectural structures and districts.

"Coastal Avian Protection Zones" or "CAPZ" means the areas designated on the map of "Coastal Avian Protection Zones" generated on the department's Coastal GEMS geospatial data system (9VAC15-60-120 C 1).

"Concentrating photovoltaics" or "CPV" means PV systems with equipment to focus or direct sunlight on the PV cells. For purposes of this chapter, CPV is included in the definition of PV.

"Department" means the Department of Environmental Quality, its director, or the director's designee.

"DCR" means the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"DGIF" means the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

"DHR" means the Department of Historic Resources.

"Disturbance zone" means the area within the site directly impacted by construction and operation of the solar energy project and within 100 feet of the boundary of the directly impacted area.

"Historic resource" means any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, object, or cultural landscape that is included or meets the criteria necessary for inclusion in the Virginia Landmarks Register pursuant to the authorities of § 10.1-2205 of the Code of Virginia and in accordance with 17VAC5-30-40 through 17VAC5-30-70.

"Integrated PV" means photovoltaics incorporated into building materials, such as shingles.

"Interconnection point" means the point or points where the solar energy project connects to a project substation for transmission to the electrical grid.

"Natural heritage resource" means the habitat of rare, threatened, or endangered plant and animal species, rare or state significant natural communities or geologic sites, and similar features of scientific interest benefiting the welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth.

"Operator" means the person responsible for the overall operation and management of a solar energy project.

"Other solar technologies" means materials or devices or methodologies of producing electricity from sunlight other than PV or CPV.

"Owner" means the person who owns all or a portion of a solar energy project.

"Parking lot" means an improved area, usually divided into individual spaces and covered with pavement or gravel, intended for the parking of motor vehicles.

"Permit by rule" means provisions of the regulations stating that a project or activity is deemed to have a permit if it meets the requirements of the provision.

"Person" means any individual, partnership, firm, association, joint venture, public or private corporation, trust, estate, commission, board, public or private institution, utility, cooperative, county, city, town, or other political subdivision of the Commonwealth, any interstate body, or any other legal entity.

"Photovoltaic" or "PV" means materials and devices that absorb sunlight and convert it directly into electricity by semiconductors.

"Photovoltaic cell" or "PV cell" means a solid state device that converts sunlight directly into electricity. PV cells may be connected together to form PV modules, which in turn may be combined and connected to form PV arrays (often called PV panels).

"Photovoltaic system" or "PV system" means PV cells, which may be connected into one or more PV modules or arrays, including any appurtenant wiring, electric connections, mounting hardware, power-conditioning equipment (inverter), and storage batteries.

"Preconstruction" means any time prior to commencing land-clearing operations necessary for the installation of energy-generating structures at the small solar energy project.

"Rated capacity" means the maximum capacity of a solar energy project based on Photovoltaic USA Test Conditions (PVUSA Test Conditions) rating.

"Site" means the area containing a solar energy project that is under common ownership or operating control. Electrical infrastructure and other appurtenant structures up to the interconnection point shall be considered to be within the site.

"Small renewable energy project" means (i) an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 150 megawatts that generates electricity only from sunlight or wind; (ii) an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 100 megawatts that generates electricity only from falling water, wave motion, tides, or geothermal power; or (iii) an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 20 megawatts that generates electricity only from biomass, energy from waste, or municipal solid waste.

"Small solar energy project," "solar energy project," or "project" means a small renewable energy project that (i) generates electricity from sunlight, consisting of one or more PV systems and other appurtenant structures and facilities within the boundaries of the site; and (ii) is designed for, or capable of, operation at a rated capacity equal to or less than 150 megawatts. Two or more solar energy projects otherwise spatially separated but under common ownership or operational control, which are connected to the electrical grid under a single interconnection agreement, shall be considered a single solar energy project. Nothing in this definition shall imply that a permit by rule is required for the construction of test structures to determine the appropriateness of a site for the development of a solar energy project.

"T&E," "state threatened or endangered species," or "state-listed species" means any wildlife species designated as a Virginia endangered or threatened species by DGIF pursuant to the §§ 29.1-563 through 29.1-570 of the Code of Virginia and 4VAC15-20-130.

"VLR" means the Virginia Landmarks Register (9VAC15-60-120 B 1).

"VLR-eligible" means those historic resources that meet the criteria necessary for inclusion on the VLR pursuant to 17VAC5-30-40 through 17VAC5-30-70 but are not listed in VLR.

"VLR-listed" means those historic resources that have been listed in the VLR in accordance with the criteria of 17VAC5-30-40 through 17VAC5-30-70.

"Wildlife" means wild animals; except, however, that T&E insect species shall only be addressed as part of natural heritage resources and shall not be considered T&E wildlife.

Statutory Authority

§ 10.1-1197.6 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 28, Issue 21, eff. July 18, 2012; amended, Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 20, eff. July 1, 2017.

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