Crafting proper ordinances and resolutions is vital to the quick adoption of solar power in municipalities. SEMREO offers resources to help municipal officials streamline the ordinances and processes necessary for property owners to go solar, listed below.
“There are many benefits to the municipality and to the applicant in [zoning for solar energy systems]. Zoning and other land use regulations play an important role in enabling renewable energy projects that are cost effective and compatible with existing land use.”
“Further, a supportive regulatory environment can encourage the growth of local solar markets, while an unsupportive environment can deter solar market growth.” – Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC)
Michigan’s Clean Energy Coalition published this wonderful guide to assist local governments in Michigan specifically to become solar-ready. The guide details every step necessary to alleviate regulatory barriers for residents and even has specific examples of language for zoning codes, resolutions, and more.
The document above, from the DVRPC, provides language from and examples of solar PV ordinances. While all municipalities have specific needs and requirements, this resource serves as a useful framework when initially crafting changes to municipal codes.
The Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative published this toolkit to provide an overview of the necessary steps to creating a friendlier municipal environment for solar, along with further resources covering solar zoning and access.
“Solar soft costs are the non-hardware, balance of system costs associated with solar energy systems. They are also referred to as ‘non-hardware costs’ and include costs associated with planning, zoning, permitting, interconnection, inspection, financing, customer acquisition, and installation labor.”
“SolSmart is a new national designation program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative through the Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) initiative, designed to recognize communities that have taken key steps to address local barriers to solar energy and foster the growth of mature local solar markets.”
The page above contains resources for every step in the process of becoming a SolSmart-designated community, including but not limited to information about making public statements of solar goals, permitting, planning, zoning, development regulations, inspection, construction codes, solar rights, utility engagement, community engagement, market development, and financing.
One of our partners, the Michigan Municipal League, created this page with examples of city council resolutions from around Michigan. The formats could be useful when writing resolutions for Michigan city councils relating to solar and/or other renewable power systems.
Below are some model ordinances/laws for streamlining solar PV system adoption.