Virginia made it easier to build solar facilities. With one being planned in rural Hanover County, residents are pushing back. | Richmond Local News

“As far as the benefits for these solar projects, especially given the financial and economic state that we’re in both as a commonwealth and as a country, solar is really one of the solutions that’s going to pull us out of this economic crisis,” Smucker said. “And I think that can especially be seen in how many jobs, how many local jobs will be created in Virginia, while also delivering substantial financial benefits to our localities and our communities.”

There’s only one other solar facility in Hanover, and it’s being built off Mechanicsville Turnpike, said county planning manager Gretchen Biernot. Upon completion, that project will run at 20 megawatts.

Rainbow Trout is supposed to create about 50 temporary full-time construction jobs with a total of $975,000 in wages, according to the application.

Stephanie Ballard, who owns the property, has been contacted about placing a solar farm there before, though it never panned out.

For her, leasing land for the project provides another source of income while also giving her a means to keep it. If it weren’t this, she said, she’d look for the property to be developed as a subdivision.

Biernot said that if it were developed under its current zoning, eight more houses could crop up on the property. If Ballard applied for rezoning, the number could go up to 13.

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