New Guidance on Permitting Provides Boon for Local Governments, Solar Developers



Template solar ordinance offers adaptable roadmap for solar energy development with a local twist

RALEIGH – The NC Solar Center (NCSC) and the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) released a Template Solar Energy Development Ordinance that addresses some of the most common considerations that arise in the permitting of solar energy facilities. It is intended to offer a path that could facilitate solar project development for companies and landowners while simultaneously creating a framework for local governments to ensure the safeguarding of local values and interests.

The template ordinance represents months of collaboration among multiple stakeholders including solar industry representatives, state government agencies, local planning communities, legal experts, and other non-profit groups. However, the project stopped deliberately short of proposing the resulting template ordinance as a prescriptive approach, suggesting its value instead as an expert guide.

“The template is a unique tool for local governments that are researching how best to design their own solar ordinance and need a model that is tailored to the state,” said Michael Fucci, Regulatory and Market Analyst for NCSEA. “It is also a ‘win’ for companies that can now rely on the template in jurisdictions where a lack of understanding of how to regulate solar development may otherwise have posed a significant barrier to entry.”

Throughout the drafting process NCSEA and NCSC provided drafts of the template to numerous jurisdictions eager to take advantage of the resource. County officials have already used the template ordinance to help them better prepare to manage commercial solar development responsibly while still maintaining the support of solar developers. In 2013 North Carolina installed more solar than 47 other states, and even more solar is expected to be installed in the state in 2014.

“Due to this solar boom, local governments across NC have significant interest in better understanding solar energy,” said Tommy Cleveland, Renewable Energy Project Coordinator at NCSC. “Now that the template ordinance is published we expect to see even greater interest and are well prepared to offer support to interested jurisdictions.”

The Template Solar Ordinance and a historical report detailing key decision points are available on the NCSEA and NCSC sites.


About the North Carolina Solar Center:

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information visit:  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter


About the NC Sustainable Energy Association:

Founded in 1978, the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit membership organization of individuals, businesses, government and non-profits working to ensure a sustainable future by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency in North Carolina through education, public policy and economic development. Learn more at



Shannon Helm, NC Solar Center,, 919-423-8340

Lowell Sachs, NCSEA,, 919-832-7601 Ext.117