Hearing set for ordinance that would limit solar farms to 2% of ‘prime’ soils

Published 4:09 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Isle of Wight County’s Planning Commission will hold a Feb. 28 public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would limit utility-scale solar farms to 2% of the county’s “prime farm soils,” or 2,446 acres.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines the term as land with the “best combination of physical and chemical characteristics” for growing crops.

Isle of Wight has approved six solar farms to date spanning just over 3,170 acres, though only one is currently operational. Amy Ring, Isle of Wight’s community development director, couldn’t provide the Planning Commission with an exact figure as to how many of those acres are prime farm soils, but noted that all 438 acres on the Isle of Wight side of the Cavalier solar farm, which will occupy 1,750 acres across the Isle of Wight-Surry county line, fall into that category.

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