Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 22. Planning, Subdivision of Land and Zoning
1/23/2022

Article 7.3. Siting of Solar Projects and Energy Storage Projects.

§ 15.2-2316.6. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Energy storage facilities" means the energy storage equipment and technology within an energy storage project that is capable of absorbing energy, storing such energy for a period of time, and redelivering such energy after it has been stored.

"Energy storage project" means the energy storage facilities within the project site.

"Host locality" means any locality within the jurisdictional boundaries of which construction of a commercial solar project or an energy storage project is proposed.

"Solar facilities" means commercial solar photovoltaic (electric energy) generation facilities. "Solar facilities" does not include any solar project that is (i) described in § 56-594, 56-594.01, 56-594.02, or 56-594.2, or (ii) five megawatts or less.

"Solar project" means the solar facilities, subject to this chapter, that are within the project site.

2020, c. 802; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 57, 58.

§ 15.2-2316.7. Negotiations; siting agreement.

A. Any applicant for a solar project or an energy storage project shall give to the host locality written notice of the applicant's intent to locate in such locality and request a meeting. Such applicant shall meet, discuss, and negotiate a siting agreement with such locality.

B. The siting agreement may include terms and conditions, including (i) mitigation of any impacts of such solar project or energy storage project; (ii) financial compensation to the host locality to address capital needs set out in the (a) capital improvement plan adopted by the host locality, (b) current fiscal budget of the host locality, or (c) fiscal fund balance policy adopted by the host locality; or (iii) assistance by the applicant in the deployment of broadband, as defined in § 56-585.1:9, in such locality.

2020, c. 802; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 57, 58.

§ 15.2-2316.8. Powers of host localities.

A. The governing body of a host locality shall have the power to:

1. Hire and pay consultants and other experts on behalf of the host locality in matters pertaining to the siting of a solar project or energy storage project;

2. Meet, discuss, and negotiate a siting agreement with an applicant; and

3. Enter into a siting agreement with an applicant that is binding upon the governing body of the host locality and enforceable against it and future governing bodies of the host locality in any court of competent jurisdiction by signing a siting agreement pursuant to this article. Such contract may be assignable at the parties' option.

B. If the parties to the siting agreement agree upon the terms and conditions of a siting agreement, the host locality shall schedule a public hearing, pursuant to subsection A of § 15.2-2204, for the purpose of consideration of such siting agreement. If a majority of a quorum of the members of the governing body present at such public hearing approve of such siting agreement, the siting agreement shall be executed by the signatures of (i) the chief executive officer of the host locality and (ii) the applicant or the applicant's authorized agent. The siting agreement shall continue in effect until it is amended, revoked, or suspended.

2020, c. 802; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 57, 58.

§ 15.2-2316.9. Effect of executed siting agreement; land use approval.

A. Nothing in this article shall be construed to exempt an applicant from any other applicable requirements to obtain approvals and permits under federal, state, or local ordinances and regulations. An applicant may file for appropriate land use approvals for the solar project or energy storage project, as applicable, under the regulations and ordinances of the host locality at or after the time the applicant submits its notice of intent to site a solar project or energy storage project as set forth in subsection A of § 15.2-2316.7.

B. Nothing in this article shall affect the authority of the host locality to enforce its ordinances and regulations to the extent that they are not inconsistent with the terms and conditions of the siting agreement.

C. Approval of a siting agreement by the local governing body in accordance with subsection B of § 15.2-2316.8 shall deem the solar project or energy storage project to be substantially in accord with the comprehensive plan of the host locality, thereby satisfying the requirements of § 15.2-2232.

D. The failure of an applicant and the governing body to enter into a siting agreement may be a factor in the decision of the governing body in the consideration of any land use approvals for a solar project or energy storage project, but shall not be the sole reason for a denial of such land use approvals.

2020, c. 802; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 57, 58.