It’s a juxtaposition between the old and new: an effort to expand solar energy use in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia. Leading this work is the Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia, a group of nonprofit and community action agencies, colleges, state agencies, planning district commissions, and other interested citizens and businesses seeking to develop a renewable energy industry cluster in the seven coalfield counties of Southwest Virginia.
- Created an online permitting checklist, increasing transparency for community members and solar installers.
- Reviewed local zoning codes and identified restrictions that intentionally or unintentionally prohibit solar PV development
- Allowed solar by-right accessory use in all zones (so solar installations don’t require special permits or hearings)
- Cross-trained both inspection and permitting staff on solar PV
- Provided a streamlined permitting pathway for small PV systems
- Created a streamlined process to approve certain solar permit applications over the counter