Key to Unlocking the Power of Small Scale Renewable Energy: Local Land Use Regulation

30 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2012 Last revised: 3 Jun 2014

See all articles by Patricia Salkin

Patricia Salkin

Touro College - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

Date Written: 2012


This article provides an overview of some of the strategies that have been used to increase the use of small-scale renewables, focusing on non-commercial renewable energy systems installed at the home or business level. The article begins in Part II with a discussion of various renewable energy incentives offered by the federal and state governments to promote the use of these alternative sources of electricity, including financial and permitting incentives. Part III continues with a detailed examination of how the land use regulatory system can be used to promote small-scale renewable energy by employing traditional zoning techniques, asserting that without an appropriate local land use regime, the incentives reviewed in Part II cannot be effectively utilized. Part IV concludes with a warning to local governments that if they fail to accommodate the emerging federal and state policies supporting the siting of renewable energy sources, they may face preemptive statutory measures in the area of land use regulation. This creates perhaps the greatest incentive for local governments to plan and regulate responsibly for promoting the appropriate use of small-scale renewable energy.

Keywords: solar energy, wind energy, zoning, small-scale renewable energy, land use, comprehensive plan

JEL Classification: K11, K32

Suggested Citation

Salkin, Patricia E., Key to Unlocking the Power of Small Scale Renewable Energy: Local Land Use Regulation (2012). 27 Univ. Fla. J. Land Use & Envt’l Law 339 (2012), Available at SSRN:

Patricia E. Salkin (Contact Author)

Touro College - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center ( email )

225 Eastview Drive
Central Islip, NY 11722
United States

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