Washington County to Appeal Perennial Solar Approval

The Washington County Board of Commissioners filed paperwork Friday to appeal State approval of a large solar project in Cearfoss. Previous decisions in this case has set solar siting policy for the last several years.

In 2019 the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that local land use is impliedly preempted by the state over the siting of large solar facilities. Since the proposed Perennial project is more than two megawatts, it requires State approval in the form of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Public Service Commission (PSC).

From coverage in the Herald-Mail:

Perennial Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Radnor, Pa.-based Community Energy, is planning an 8-megawatt solar generating facility on about 60 acres west of Greencastle Pike and south of Fairview Road. The project could involve about 28,000 to 30,000 fixed solar panels.

After lengthy proceedings spanning more than five years since the project’s first application, the Public Utility Law Judge for the case recently issued a proposed order that approved the project with conditions.

From the order:

After conducting two public comment hearings and two evidentiary hearings, reviewing all the written comments, and considering the parties’ briefs and the entire record of this proceeding, I find that approving Perennial’s CPCN Application and the Project to be in the public’s convenience and necessity. I specifically find that the benefits of the Project and its contribution to the State’s RPS outweigh the County’s recommendation and the objections about the Project’s potential negative impacts, many of which were not supported by the record.

Washington County and neighbors of the proposed project location have less than a week to file memorandums describing their appeals.

Previous coverage on Conduit Street:

Court of Appeals Holds Solar Siting Decisions Are Made by the State, Not by Local Zoning

Court of Appeals Agrees to Hear Solar Preemption Case

Useful Links:

Proposed Order

Herald-Mail: Washington County commissioners, residents appeal Perennial Solar approval