According to state law, effective July 1, 2008, community associations in Virginia generally may not prohibit a homeowner from installing or using a solar energy collection device on their property. A community association may, however, establish reasonable restrictions concerning the size, place, manner of placement of individual solar devices or restrict the installation of solar devices on common areas within the development served by the community association. This law does not affect covenants that were in effect prior to July 1, 2008.
Created in 1995 and administered jointly by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Solar Manufacturing Incentive Grant (SMIG) Program offers up to $4.5 million per year to encourage the production of photovoltaic panels in Virginia. The incentive is paid at a rate of up to $0.75 per watt for panels sold in a calendar year, with a maximum of 6 MW.
Virginia's solar easement law is similar to those in effect in other states. The Virginia Solar Easements Act of 1978 allows property owners to create binding solar easements for the purpose of protecting and maintaining proper access to sunlight.
Soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) were established in the 1930s to develop comprehensive programs and plans to conserve soil resources, control and prevent soil erosion, prevent floods and conserve, develop, utilize and dispose water. Today, forty-seven districts encompass nearly all Virginia localities. The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board may choose to set planning, zoning, and regulatory guidelines for local Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Virginia Scenic Rivers Program’s intent is to identify, designate and help protect rivers and streams that possess outstanding scenic, recreational, historic and natural characteristics of statewide significance for future generations. Construction and development is restricted on designated scenic rivers and adjacent lands.
Virginia allows a four-day sales tax exemption on Energy Star products of $2,500 or less per product, purchased for non-commercial home or personal use. Beginning in 2007, the 100% exemption from the state sales and use tax applies to sales occurring during the four-day period that commencing annually on the Friday before the second Monday in October and ends at midnight on the second Monday in October.
In October 2004, the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors approved a zoning ordinance for small wind energy systems, the first of its kind in Virginia. Students at James Madison University drafted the original ordinance with guidance from members of the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative (VWEC) and assistance from members of Rockingham County's planning board.
The Rivanna River Basin Commission is an independent local entity tasked with providing guidance for the stewardship and enhancement of the water quality and natural resources of the Rivanna River Basin. Although the Commission has no regulatory authority, it is a forum in which local governments and citizens can discuss issues affecting the Basin's water quality and quantity and other natural resources.
This legislation applies to distribution facilities, which include poles and wires, cables, pipelines, or other underground conduits by which a renewable generator is able to (i) supply electricity generated at its renewable energy facility to the electric distribution grid, (ii) distribute steam generated at its renewable energy facility to customers, or (iii) supply landfill gas it collects to customers or a natural gas distribution or transmission pipeline.
This legislation aims to provide for the rehabilitation and conservation of land affected by the mining of minerals through proper planning, proper use of appropriate methods of mining, consideration of the impact of mining upon the environment as well as the land use of surrounding areas, and through the incorporation and use of control techniques and reclamation actions as an integral and simultaneous part of the mining of minerals.