Culpeper County Planning Commission rejects Maroon Solar LLC for a third time

On Jan. 11, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny Maroon Solar LLC’s utility-scale solar proposal for the third time. Previous iterations of the 1,879-acre solar project in the Stevensburg District had also been rejected by the Board of Supervisors in 2020 and in 2021. The most recent version of this proposal increased the total acreage of the project but reduced the total acreage under solar panels from 970 acres to 671 acres of panels, which is still over twice the size recommended by county policy.

Many Stevensburg residents, including neighbors of the project, voiced their concerns over the possible flooding and sedimentation that such a massive project might bring to the area. The site is largely covered by notorious Blackjack or Jackland soils, which are highly erodable and prone to flooding. Maroon Solar is also in the Potato Run-Rapidan River Watershed, the same watershed as Greenwood Solar, which has not yet started construction. Additional concerns were voiced about the possibility of both projects being under construction at the same time, which could compound the impacts on local roads, streams, wildlife, and residents. The area is also adjacent to many historic resources, including a civil war study area and several historic structures.

A map of proposed and approved utility-scale solar projects in Culpeper. Credit Watsun Randolph/PEC

This application will go to the Board of Supervisors with the recommendation of denial from the Planning Commission. We do not know when the Board will review the application, although it may be as early as February. The Board is also working on the 2023 Comprehensive Plan and a Solar Ordinance with an updated Solar Policy for the county.

You can contact your District Supervisor to let them know what you think of the Maroon Solar proposal and utility-scale solar siting in Culpeper County.

Maroon Solar is holding an open house at the Brandy Station Volunteer Fire Station on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 5 – 7 p.m. We will be in attendance. This is an opportunity to bring your concerns to the developers.