Solar energy is here to stay, and more U.S. consumers and businesses are investing in solar energy than ever before. The US has over 22,700 MW of cumulative installed solar electric capacity, which is enough to power more than 4.6 million average American homes! A recent Gallup poll showed that more than two in three Americans want the U.S. to put more emphasis on producing domestic energy using solar power. The average price of a solar panel has declined by 60 percent since the beginning of 2011, which is spurring even more demand.
Yet solar still faces market barriers; restrictions and limitations to solar access and delays associated with local processes have a direct impact on a consumer's investment decision. By actively considering solar energy in zoning and planning efforts, planning and zoning professionals can cut the red tape (and costs) associated with solar and make solar easier and cheaper for citizens.
Solar-Friendly Zoning Toolbox
Download PDFs of each chapter of the Solar-Friendly Zoning Toolbox
The following resources are referenced in the Solar-Friendly Zoning Toolbox:
American Planning Association. Planning Advisory Service. 2011. <http://www.planning.org/pas/infopackets/open/eip30.htm>.
- "Quicknotes: Planning for Solar Energy." n.d. PAS Quicknotes No. 40. <http://www.planning.org/pas/quicknotes/open/pdf/QN40.pdf>.
- Solar Briefing Papers. n.d. <http://www.planning.org/research/solar/briefingpapers/>.
Brooks, Bill. Expedited Permit Process for PV Systems: A Standardized Process for the Review of Small-Scale PV Systems. Cocoa, Florida: Solar America Board for Codes and Standards, 2011.
City of Henderson, Nevada. "Chapter 19.7, Development and Design Standards; Section 19.7.12, Sustainability; Table 19.7.12-1, Menu of Site and Building Design Options for Sustainability, Part 1.9: Solar Ready Design." Development Code. 2011.
City of Laramie, Wyoming. "Title 5, Business Taxes, Licenses and Regulations; Chapter 5.58, Solar Rights Permit System." Code of Ordinances. Tallahassee, Fla: Municipal Code Corporation, 2011.
City of Park City, Utah. "Park City Draft General Plan." March 2013. http://www.parkcity.org/index.aspx?page=771.
City of Parowan, Utah. "Municipal Code." Title 24, Zoning. Chapter 15, Solar Access Incentives and Protection. www.parowan.org/index.php/ordinance-titles/title-24-zoning/679-title-24-zoning-chapter-15-solar-access-incentives-and-protection.html, n.d.
County of Monroe, Pennsylvania. "Model Ordinance for On-Site Usage of Solar Energy Systems." 2010.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and Solar America Communities. Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments. Second Edition. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Energy, 2011.
Governor's Solar Working Group. "Solar Energy Systems: A Guide for Pennsylvania Municipal Officials." 2009.
Kandt, A., et al. Implementing Solar PV Projects on Historic Buildings and in Historic Districts. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy, 2011.
Minnesota Environmental Quality Board. "Solar Energy Standards." From Policy to Reality: Updated Model Ordinance for Sustainable Development. Minneapolis, Minn: Prepared by CR Planning, Inc., n.d.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory. "PV FAQs: What is the energy payback for PV?" U.S. Department of Energy, January 2004. <http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy04osti/35489.pdf>.
Network for New Energy Choices. "Freeing the Grid: Best Practices in State Net Metering Policies and Interconnection Procedures." 2011.
Salt Lake City Corporation. "Salt Lake City Ordinance No. 20 of 2011." 2011. http://www.slcdocs.com/Planning/Projects/Sust/Ord20.pdf.
Sugarman, D. "Model Small-Scale Solar Siting Ordinance." Columbia Law School's Center for Climate Change Law.