Land Use Study for Solar Power in Virginia

Below is a study conducted by VCU on the land use requirements to meet the Virginia Green New Deal goal of running the Commonwealth 100% on renewable energy by 2045.

As of January 2021, Virginia has deployed more than 1,500 megawatts (MWac) of utility-scale solar generation capacity, with thousands of additional megawatts of generating capacity under construction and planned for development in the coming years. Continued growth is anticipated because of Virginia’s aggressive renewable portfolio standards in addition to recent technological improvements and declining system costs. However, an emerging concern regarding the widespread development of utility-scale solar facilities is its potentially significant land use. While solar energy has become an important component of land use considerations in many rural communities across the Commonwealth, there is very little information available that comprehensively evaluates the existing land use impacts and development trends of solar facilities. This study investigates the spatial characteristics of existing utility-scale solar facilities in Virginia using GIS techniques.

Utility-Scale Solar in Virginia_ An Analysis of Land Use and Deve