Skip to main content

Smoothing the Path to Solar

This report offers case study observations that could inform efforts to create a more predictable, efficient, and timely permitting process for utility-scale solar facility construction in Virginia. Based on 12 case studies, this report finds two major impediments to solar permitting. First, for projects seeking a permit-by-rule (PBR), there is a long gap (usually over one year) in the overall permitting process between obtaining local and state permits. This gap appears to be caused by a lack of common standards for state and local permitting processes, which complicates the application process for developers.  


A chart depicting the relative length of permitting phases by locality.

Second, this study finds that, in the local permitting process, there is very little time for the public, developers, and local governments to come together and discuss project proposals. This impacts rural communities most, as they have a vested interest in maintaining agricultural land and natural spaces which is inadequately addressed. Creating a more efficient permitting process between state and local entities and allowing for more communication between residents and developers would likely benefit all stakeholders. Further research is needed to produce a comprehensive study of permitting timelines and a survey of public attitudes toward large solar facilities.  

For the full report, download the file below. 


Smoothing the Path to Solar _full report