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Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions and American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy & Resources

Supplementing this project work, FACS acquired pro-bono legal support through the ABA-SEER/Thriving Earth Exchange partnership to develop a legal brief on the use of public rights away for the installation of solar or other renewable energy. The purpose of the brief is to provide guidance for public and private entities.

The legal brief will examine the legal and regulatory environment for installing and maintaining solar or other renewable energy facilities on Virginia state and Fairfax county roadway rights of way, and utility rights of way such as oil and gas pipelines and high voltage utility lines.

Foundational questions are (1) what entity owns the rights of way and (2) what entity can allow or deny renewable energy installation.

If renewable energy can be installed, what entities are permitted to own the installations?  For example, rights of way under high voltage lines may be owned by the electric utility?   Might that ownership preclude entities other than the utility from constructing and owning solar installations.

Are there pre-existing deed, covenant or zoning restrictions that would prohibit or inhibit solar installations?   For example, might there be county zoning rules that would not allow installation of solar on rights of way.

Can independent third parties, including Sub S corporations, construct, own and maintain solar fields in rights of way?

These questions are currently being investigated with this projects ABA-SEER partners.


mgoodwin editor

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