Another utility scale solar project threatens historic land

Another solar developer has proposed a solar array project that, if approved, would be located in the study area for the Rapidan Front Landscape Study federal grant awarded to Friends of Cedar Mountain. This is the fourth utility scale project to be proposed in Culpeper County since 2018; all have posed a challenge to the integrity of the county’s historic landscape.

Maroon Solar (parent company Strata Solar) hopes to place solar panels to the east of Raccoon Ford Road, Route 617, north of Algonquin Trail. The proposed project area is 1700 acres. The map below shows the proposed location of the solar project superimposed on a Civil War era map that identifies Federal Army of the Potomac picket lines.

“MAP Showing the Picket Line of the FIRST and THIRD CAVALRY DIVISIONS, CAVALRY CORPS, ARMY of the POTOMAC, by Capt. V. F. von ROERBER” Picket lines marked in blue. Citation: United States War Department, Robert N Scott, H. M Lazelle, George B Davis, Leslie J Perry, Joseph W Kirkley, Fred C Ainsworth, et al. The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Washington, Govt. Print. Off., to 1901, 1880. Image. https://www.loc.gov/item/03003452/.

Culpeper County’s Civil War history is extraordinarily rich, and there were troop movements in this project area during much of the Civil War. In addition, the project area is encircled by the documented historic sites of Cedar Mountain Battlefield, Morton’s Ford, and Brandy Station, which attract numerous visitors interested in heritage tourism.

In view of Maroon Solar’s proposed location, it is the opinion of the board of directors of Friends of Cedar Mountain that a county decision to move ahead with this project would undercut the cultural landscape and research study efforts already in progress to support our federal grant through the Department of the Interior’s American Battlefield Protection Program. The board of Friends of Cedar Mountain will ask for a hold on this solar project until our grant research team has the opportunity to complete their work and fully document the historic value of the area.

Culpeper Star Exponent article on Maroon Solar – November 8, 2020