(A)   Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
      MEGAWATT TO KILOWATT CONVERSION. One megawatt equals 1,000 kilowatts.
      PHOTOVOLTAIC PROCESS. A technological process that converts light directly into electricity.
      SOLAR POWER PLANT, LARGE PHOTOVOLTAIC. A utility-style commercial facility with a rated nameplate capacity greater than 100 kilowatts (DC), which uses solar energy specifically for the conversion of sunlight into electricity by photovoltaics.
   (B)   General standards. The following regulations establish minimum requirements and standards for the placement, construction, and modification of large photovoltaic solar power plants, while promoting the safe, effective, and efficient use of such energy systems.
      (1)   Setbacks. All aboveground facilities associated with such plant (excluding perimeter security fencing) shall be considered a structure for the purposes of determining required setbacks.
      (2)   Safety/access. A security fence (height and material to be established through the special exception process) shall be placed around the perimeter of the solar power plant and electrical equipment shall be locked. Knox boxes and keys shall be provided at locked entrances for emergency personnel access. Warning signage shall be placed on electrical equipment and plant entrances.
      (3)   Noise. No such plant shall exceed 65 dBA as measured at the property line or 50 dBA as measured at the nearest neighboring inhabitable building.
      (4)   Plan of development. Any such facility must follow the conditions set forth in § 157.047.
      (5)   Surety bond. The facility will be subject to all proper surety bonds deemed necessary by local, state, and federal officials, per this chapter.
      (6)   Local, state, and federal permits. Such a plant shall be required to obtain all necessary permits from the U.S. Government, state, and county, and comply with standards of the major code and safety organizations that apply to generation projects (the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)).
      (7)   Electrical interconnections. All electrical interconnection or distribution lines shall comply with all applicable codes and standard commercial large-scale utility requirements. Use of aboveground transmission lines shall be minimized.
      (8)   Additional special exception criteria. The following topics shall be addressed in a special exception application for such plant in addition to the special exception uses review criteria in § 157.073.
         (a)   Project description and rationale. Identify the type, size, rated power output, performance, safety, and noise characteristics of the system, including the name and address of the manufacturer, model. Identify time frame, project life, development phases, likely markets for the generated energy, and possible future expansions.
         (b)   Economic analysis. Provide economic cost/benefit analysis describing generated property taxes, sales taxes, other taxes, construction dollars spent locally, estimated construction jobs and construction payroll, estimated permanent jobs and continuing payroll, and costs associated with impact on roads and other county infrastructure in the area.
         (c)   Wildlife habitat areas and migration patterns. Address potential impact on wildlife especially endangered or threatened species, on the site and in a biologically significant area surrounding the site.
         (d)   Environmental analysis. Identify impact analysis on historic, cultural, and archaeological resources, soil erosion, flora in the project area, water quality, and water supply in the area, dust from project activities, and cumulative impacts of other adjacent power plant projects.
         (e)   Waste. Identify solid waste or hazardous waste generated by the project and methods of disposal.
         (f)   Lighting. Provide lighting plan showing impacts on adjacent properties.
         (g)   Transportation plan. Provide access plan during construction and operation phases. Show proposed project service road ingress and egress access onto primary and secondary routes, layout of the plant service road system and degree of upgrade plan to new and existing roads, anticipated volume and route for traffic, including oversized and heavy equipment needed for construction, maintenance and repairs, methodology of repairs and maintenance of roads and bridges used for the project, and related public pedestrian and vehicular access and associated fencing.
         (h)   Public safety. Identify emergency and normal shutdown procedures. Identify potential hazards to adjacent properties, public roadways, communities, aviation, and the like that may be created and address response to such hazards.
         (i)   Noise limitations. Identify noise levels at the property line of the project boundary.
         (j)   Telecommunications interference. Identify electromagnetic fields and communications interference generated by the project.
         (k)   Life of the project and final reclamation.
            1.   Describe the decommissioning and final land reclamation plan after anticipated useful life or abandonment or termination of the project, including an agreement with the property owner that ensures proper final removal of power generating equipment. (Decommissioning and final land reclamation shall be completed no later than 1 year from the date the facility ceases to generate electricity.)
            2.   If an entity purchases the property, an agreement must be signed with county officials that ensures proper decommissioning and removal of all equipment.
         (l)   Reversion.
            1.   Permitted transfers of the special exception shall include the following:
               a.   Any transfer to a subsidiary, parent or other affiliate of the applicant or a successor to the applicant by merger or consolidation;
               b.   Any transfer to a public utility company or member owned electrical cooperative regulated by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Division of Public Utility Regulation; and
               c.   Any transfer to a new entity, or its affiliates, with a cumulative total of 35 megawatts of electrical generation and/or storage assets that such entity currently operates(ed) or has constructed.
            2.   The permittee shall notify the county of any intent to sell or transfer ownership or operation of the facility.  The original special exception shall transfer to the new owner/operator contingent upon the new owner/operator filing a letter of intent with the county to continue operation as a solar power facility.
(Ord. passed 11-9-1995; Ord. passed 7-11-2019)  Penalty, see § 157.999