Model Solar Energy Facility Permit Streamlining Ordinance


By: California County Planning Directors Association

Solar Energy

This model offers permitting and development standards for four types of solar energy systems (direct use, accessory use, secondary use, and primary use). It establishes 4 tiers and use types of solar energy systems ranging from on-site accessory rooftop systems, permitted in all districts, to ground-mounted systems of increasing sizes and intensities, requiring increasing levels of review. It provides setbacks and height limits for the tiers in different zoning district types.

The model prohibits large systems on farmland and other protected lands, including floodways, wetlands, and wildlife habitat, and limits their visibility in designated scenic areas. Cessation of activity for 24 months constitutes abandonment and owners must remove all equipment and restore site to its original condition.