Stop Industrial Solar – Protect Our Forests

The S🌞Lution should not be
the dissolution of our forests and farmlands.

Utility-Scale Solar

Utility-Scale Solar in Spotsylvania County, VA (Photo by Hugh Kenny. The Piedmont Environmental Council)

Protect Our Forests and Our Waters

The Issue: Virginia forests are being destroyed to make way for solar power plants. Thousands of acres have been lost and many more thousands are on the chopping block. Home to countless plants and animals, forests also clean our air and protect our water. The trees, vegetation, and soil of forests are vitally important for a healthy world.

The Problems

Loss of Habitat: When forests are removed, animals lose. They are either destroyed or displaced.
Carbon Emissions: Forests and soil act as natural carbon capture machines. Their destruction releases stored carbon.
Water Resources: Forests play a crucial role in regulating water cycles. Their loss can affect water availability and quality. Sediment and erosion from construction and operation of solar power plants has damaged waterways. According to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, almost 70% of solar facilities had water issues.

What Can You Do?

1. Support Sustainable Practices: Advocate for solar projects on already disturbed lands, brownfields, or rooftops to minimize forest destruction.
2. Community Action: Raise awareness in your community about the environmental impacts of clearing forest for solar power plants.
3. Policy Engagement: Urge policymakers to prioritize conservation and sustainable land use in solar energy development.
4. Choose Renewable Energy Wisely: Choose community solar programs, or rooftop solar installations, to support renewable energy without contributing to forest destruction.
5. Get Involved: Join local environmental organizations or campaigns dedicated to protecting forests and promoting sustainable energy solutions.

Together, We Can Protect Our Forests and Our Future. Take Action Today!


Industrial Solar in Buckingham County

In Buckingham County, the board of supervisors (BOS) has voted to allow 7,500 acres (over 11 square miles) of solar facilities. As a size comparison, the entire City of Charlottesville is about 6,500 acres (about 10 square miles). Supervisor Danny Allen pointed out that the solar acreage allowance can be increased at any time. It seems this is only the beginning of the most drastic land use change ever in Buckingham County.

To date, nearly all the land proposed to become industrial solar in the County is in timber production. When forests are removed from timber use, jobs are lost. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.6 jobs elsewhere in Virginia’s economy.

400 acres of industrial solar facilities have already been built in Buckingham County. One of these facilities, Buckingham Solar II, has been fined for violations of state water control law three years in a row.

Roughly 3,000 acres of BOS-approved industrial solar facilities area just steps from the James River. The others impact tributaries of the James. Additionally, several thousand acres of these projects have been approved in adjacent counties. All of these threaten to be severely damaging due to the risk of sedimentation, stormwater and runoff that has been historically associated with construction and operation of industrial solar projects. These industrial solar projects all impact the same short stretch of the James River.

Shared Solar Infographic<br />
Two Solar power articles – good coverage

Two Solar power articles – good coverage

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Utility Solar Vs. Community Solar

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