Legislating for Solar Access: A Guide and Model Ordinance
SolarTech Solar 3.0 Project, Dept. of Energy Award No. DE-EE0005348/001
26 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2014
Date Written: April 2012
Solar energy development is an increasingly attractive way to diversify a community’s energy portfolio, stimulate job creation, reduce pressure on electricity grids, and protect natural resources. Recognizing the potential benefits of solar power, state and local governments across the United States have introduced net metering programs, tax credits, subsidies, renewable portfolio standards, and countless other policies in recent years to promote solar energy within their boundaries.
The growing popularity of solar energy has also increased the demand for laws that adequately protect solar energy systems from shading by neighbors. Such laws, commonly known as solar access laws, can reduce one source of uncertainty associated with installing solar energy systems on privately-owned property and can thereby encourage greater overall investment in distributed solar energy development. Fortunately, compared to most other forms of solar energy legislation, solar access laws are inexpensive to adopt and administer.
This Guide and its accompanying Model Solar Access Ordinance seek to educate local government officials about solar access laws and to assist them in adopting such laws within their respective jurisdictions. Building upon existing research by Solar ABCs and others, this Guide shows how solar access ordinances can be a low-cost way for local governments to better promote distributed solar energy.
Keywords: Solar Energy, Energy Law, Solar Access Laws
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