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Zoning and Permitting

Solar Zoning Issues/Restrictions

  • The main focus is on visibility of solar panels from the street (aesthetic view)
  • Most ordinances regulate as accessory use
  • Most do not allow for free standing solar panels in residential areas
  • Most do not provide protections/rights to solar (sun) access
  • Most just focus on traditional solar panels
  • Most are limited to the rear of a house with some side yard placement
  • Most limit vertical projection to 5 feet above roof plane
  • Some are allowing panels to project into the into the front yard (2’); rear yard (6’); and side yard (2’).
  • Most allow solar panels as the surface layer of the roof structure with no additional apparent change in relief or projection on any roof elevation (solar shingles)
  • Most ground mounted provisions
    •      Limit location to the rear yard but some allow side yard placement
    •      Varied setbacks are being allowed:
      •           Directly adjacent to the building
      •           Five feet from the rear or side property lines
      •           Within the building setback
  •      Heights, which range from 5 to 12 feet, must be much lower then the height of the house
  •      Some are requiring screening of ground mounted systems with a fence or vegetation

Renewable Energy Zoning Resources (click on any of the following)

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