Become a solar-ready community, including adopting ordinance/zoning language and an expedited permit process for residents and businesses to install solar energy systems.

Submitted by admin on

Become a solar-ready community, including adopting ordinance/zoning language and an expedited permit process for residents and businesses to install solar energy systems.

Best Practice of this action
Rating Guideline
1 star Ensure via ordinance that solar energy installations (PV, hot water, hot air) are allowed land uses for appropriate zoning districts. Note that some early solar energy adoptions are reported under action 26.1
2 star Create a solar permit guideline to facilitate residential or small commercial solar installations permits; waive permit fees for solar installations for two years, or set a low fixed permit fee consistent with Grow Solar Toolkit recommendations.
3 star Become a SolSmart-designated community; work with surrounding communities to use the same solar permit guidelines and fee structure.
  • See the Local Government Solar Toolkit and Workbook (Grow Solar: 2020) for rooftop solar planning, zoning and permitting resources pertinent to Minnesota.
  • See codes, standards, and guides and checklists for streamlining permit applications, reviews and inspections from the SunShot Initiative at the US Dept. of Energy's Solar Energy Resource Center. Criteria for a better permitting process include: posting permitting requirements online and allowing fast (1-3 days) online permit processing; cost-based permitting fees; allow state licensures for installers; narrow inspection appointment window for one inspection. 
  • The Solar Power In Your Community guidebook (2022) assists local government officials and stakeholders in boosting solar deployment and overcoming common barriers in today's market through new case studies about innovative, field-tested approaches in cities and counties around the country and highlights the most current technologies and strategies to maximize the benefits of solar to all communities. 
  • Join the over 45 Minnesota communities that have a SolSmart designation. This national program, funded by the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), provides no-cost technical assistance to help local governments meet nationally-recognized best practices that encourage solar market growth. 
  • Data from the Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis (2014) allows a city to assess its solar resource - document it's "proven solar reserves" (akin to oil and gas reserves) - to help shape zoning policies and focus economic development opportunities. Also view existing solar installations and other features on this web site by clicking the layers button.
  • Consider incentives or guidance that promote pollinator habitat with ground mount solar systems. See the MN Habitat Friendly Solar Program and Pollinator Toolbox.  
  • Consider incentives or guidance that promote utilization of the NAACP Equity Solar Policy Principles
  • The City of La Crescent was the first in Minnesota in 2021 to approve a Solar Ready Home Certification that incentivizes residential home developers to make low-cost installations of the infrastructure needed to make homes solar-ready. See BPA 3.3 for more.
Order Number
Action Type