Best Practice Action Detail

Best Practice Action 26.1

GreenStep City Best Practices: Resilient Economic and Community Development
Renewable Energy No. 26

Remove barriers to and encourage installation of renewable energy generation capacity.

Best Practice Action 1

Adopt wind energy and/or biomass ordinances that allow, enable, or encourage appropriate renewable energy installations.

  • Prepared by the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Great Plains Institute, the Model Wind Energy resource provides model ordinance language in the Minnesota Local Government Wind Toolkit.
1 star Ensure that wind and/or biomass energy installations are allowed land uses for appropriate zoning districts within the zoning code. Report PV, hot air/water ordinances under action 26.7 (though some have been previously reported here under 26.1)
2 star Adopt a wind, biomass or an all-encompassing renewable energy ordinance with provisions that promote rather than restrict renewable energy installations. Report incentive provisions such as fee guidelines, fast-track permitting here or under action 26.7
3 star Adopt a biomass ordinance to govern co-generation facilities.

Who's doing it

Falcon Heights - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Falcon Heights has adopted solar ordinance that clearly defines standards for installing solar equipment. Prior to this ordinance residents needed to obtain a conditional use permit, issued on a case-by-case basis, in order to install solar equipment. This ordinance makes approval of such equipment much more accessible to residents.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Justin Markon (City staff) | justin.markon@falconheights.org | 651-792-7600
Partners:
Golden Valley - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The City has a Solar Energy Systems Ordinance (11.75 in City Code) that allows solar energy systems in all zoning districts provided they meet the requirements outlined in subdivision 3 of the City code. The Wind Energy Conservation Systems Ordinance (11.74 in City Code) allows both mounted and freestanding wind energy conversion systems in the following districts provided they meet the requirements outlined in subdivisions 3-5 of the City code: Commercial, Light Industrial and Industrial, Business and Professional Offices, Institutional, Planned Unit Development and the I-394 Mixed use District. The purpose of these ordinances is to clearly define the standards for installing solar or wind energy systems, to ensure they are used in a safe and effective manner and make approval of such equipment accessible to residents.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
A total of 9 single-family residences, 5 businesses, and 2 public buildings were issued building permits for solar panels since the City began keeping electronic permit records in 2001. The reported aggregate value of these installations is $363,793. There are zero wind energy conservation systems in Golden Valley.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jason Zimmerman (City staff) | jzimmerman@goldenvalleymn.gov | (763)-593-8099
Partners:
Hermantown - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
The City of Hemantown aims invite the use of renewable and alternative energy sources through safe, effective, and efficient uses through a streamlined permitting process. A variety of renewable resources are to be permitted in the city to reduce fossil fuel dependence.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Partners:
Mahtomedi - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Section 11.01, subdivision 9.4 (attached) of the City's Zoning Ordinance permits the use of wind energy conversion systems in the Public Buildings Zoning District and the use of solar equipment in any district subject to the accessory structure requirements.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Scott Neilson (City staff) | sneilson@ci.mahtomedi.mn.us | 651-426-3344
Partners:
Maplewood - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Maplewood has an ordinance that addresses and includes solar and geothermal energy standards. An ordinance that also includes wind energy has been adopted as of October, 2011 by the city council and is now in use. The purpose of the ordinance is to "encourage
renewable energy systems that have a positive impact in energy conservation, with limited
adverse impact on the community." (Renewable Energy Ordinance, 2011)
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shann Finwall (City staff) | shann.finwall@maplewoodmn.gov | 651-249-2304
Partners:
Newport - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
The City Council approved an ordinance for using alternative energy systems within the City. The ordinance can be found in Chapter 36, Article X of the City Code
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Deb Schulz (City staff) | dschulz@newportmn.com | 651-459-5677
Partners:
North Saint Paul - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
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Implementation details:
On 11/16/2010 North Saint Paul City Council adopted an ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SYSTEMS ordinance that encourages appropriate renewable energy installations.

The purpose of the ordinance is to:


It is the goal of the City Council, as expressed in the Comprehensive Plan, to provide a sustainable quality of life for the city’s residents, making careful and effective use of available natural, human and economic resources and ensuring that resources exist to maintain and enhance the quality of life for future residents. In accordance with that goal, the city finds that it is in the public interest to encourage alternative energy systems that have a positive impact on energy production and conservation while not having an adverse impact on the community. Therefore, the purposes of this chapter include:


(A) To promote rather than restrict development of alternative energy sources by removing regulatory barriers and creating a clear regulatory path for approving alternative energy systems.


(B) To create a livable community where development incorporates sustainable design elements such as resource and energy conservation and use of renewable energy.


(C) To protect and enhance air quality, limit the effects of climate change and decrease use of fossil fuels.


(D) To encourage alternative energy development in locations where the technology is viable and environmental, economic and social impacts can be mitigated.


(E) To encourage development by establishing reasonable requirements for performance, safety, design and aesthetics of alternative energy systems.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Partners:
Rochester - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
SOLAR COLLECTION SYSTEM:
A panel, array of panels or other solar energy device, the primary purpose of which is to provide for the collection, inversion, storage, and distribution of solar energy for electricity generation, space heating, space cooling or water heating. When a solar collection system is built to serve a principal use on a property or as a part of a development site, the system shall be considered an accessory use.
SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM:
A set of devices whose primary purpose is to collect solar energy and convert and store it for useful purposes including heating and cooling buildings or other energy-using processes, or to produce generated power by means of any combination of collecting, transferring or converting solar-generated energy, and including but not limited to photovoltaic devices. When a solar energy system is built to serve a principal use on a property or as a part of a development site, the system shall be considered an accessory use.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
62.650 Categories of bonuses http://www.rochestermn.gov/departments/planning_zoning/Chapter%2062/62650C ATEGORIES_OF_BONUSES.asp?Printable=true

http://www.rochestermn.gov/departments/planning_zoning/Chapter%2062/62930A REA_ACCESSORY_DEVELOPMENT.asp?Printable=true
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jeff Ellerbusch (City staff) | ellerbusch.jeff@CO.OLMSTED.MN.US | 507-328-7132
Partners:
Saint Cloud - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of St. Cloud adopted a Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) ordinance as a part of the Land Development Code. Small-scale non-commercial WECS are Permitted or Conditional Uses in all agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial zoning districts as either free-standing or building-mounted towers depending on the specific district. A maximum of 100kW generating capacity is allowable as a Conditional Use within the Industrial District. Lot size minimums, setback requirements, height restrictions and tower type restrictions are in place for all districts. System design standards, including security, signage, lighting and compatibility with nearby properties are also included in the ordinance. WECS are not permitted within the Shoreland Impact Zone or the Mississippi River District Districts.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Liz Kramer (City staff) | elizabeth.kramer@ci.stcloud.mn.us | 320-255-7226
Partners:
Scandia - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
City has adopted a solar farm and community solar garden ordinance
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
4 solar farms have been approved for construction under this ordinance
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Neil Soltis (City staff) | n.soltis@ci.scandia.mn.us | 651-433-2274
Partners:
Warren - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
1 - Star

Conducted a review of land uses, zoning districts, and zoning code to determine if there were any restrictions in place that would prevent solar/wind energy installations. SolSmart is reviewing these as well to ensure that no restrictions exist.

Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
This has cleared the way for Warren to begin developing its own solar permitting and zoning standards which it has already established a permit application
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Shannon Mortenson (City staff) | shannonm@warrenminnesota.com | 218-745-5343
Partners:
Austin - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City adopted a wind energy ordinance.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Community volunteer) | janetanderson2840@gmail.com | 5072190680
Partners: City- Craig Hoium
Belle Plaine - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine enacted an ordinance that creates a portion of the City Code related to the construction and establishment of wind and solar power generating systems.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
This spring we anticipate the construction of a community solar garden on private property within city limits.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
Partners:
Bemidji - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In section 1024 of the GBA's Zoning and Planning Ordinances, especially on page X-46, the code emphasizes the need to accommodate the community's sustainable energy needs by encouraging "wind energy conversion systems to be located on properties in a manner which minimizes potential negative impacts upon adjacent properties."
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Casey Mai (City staff) | casey.mai@jpbgba.org | 218-759-3594
Partners: Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board
Bloomington - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Bloomington updated solar codes in 2013 (see 21.301.11). The standards are very favorable to promoting solar installations and making the approval process simple. Solar panels, whether roof mounted or freestanding, can be administratively approved.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Steve Gurney (City staff) | sgurney@BloomingtonMN.gov | 952-563-4606
Partners:
Burnsville - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Burnsville has a Wind Energy Conversion System Ordinance (10-7-30, attached).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff) | basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us | 952-895-4524
Partners:
Coon Rapids - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
The City of Coon Rapids passed and implemented the "Alternative Energy Sources and Systems" ordinance in 2014, giving residents and businesses the opportunity to utilize wind and solar energy provided they meet the City's requirements. A detailed description of the ordinance can be found in: Coon Rapids, Minnesota - Code of Ordinances/TITLE 11 - LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS/CHAPTER 11-1600 - ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES AND SYSTEMS.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Colleen Sinclair (City staff) | csinclair@coonrapidsmn.gov | 763-767-6485
Partners: City of Coon Rapids Sustainability Commission
Cottage Grove - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Our current code allows for solar and wind energy installations in multiple zoning districts and can be found here:
http://sterlingcodifiers.com/codebook/index.php?book_id=&section_id=806959
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ryan Burfeind (City staff) | rburfeind@cottage-grove.org | 651-458-2899
Partners:
Elk River - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The City Code allows for solar panels to be integrated into any building system for renewable energy generation. The ordinance includes design standards to ensure proper installation and function. Wind turbines are also allowed via conditional use permits throughout the city.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff) | ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov | 763-635-1068
Partners:
Fergus Falls - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
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Implementation details:
The City of Fergus Falls has both a Wind Energy Conservation System and a Solar Energy Systems ordinances already incorporated into our City Code.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff) | len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us | 218-332-5418
Partners:
Fridley - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Fridley allows the placement of solar energy devices in all zoning districts except for the Outdoor Intensive Heavy Industrial District and the Hyde Park neighborhood provided they are attached to the principal structure. Placing solar energy devices in a yard or hardscaped area can be done with a special use permit.

While the value of land in Fridley will limit the financial viability of installing a solar garden on open land, nearly all property owners have the opportunity with a special use permit.

Wind generators and other tower mounted energy devices are also allowed with a special use permit.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Rachel Workin (City staff) | rachel.workin@fridleymn.gov | 763-572-3594
Partners:
Grand Marais - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Interconnection Agreement - Grand Marais Public Utility Commission and the Arrowhead Electric Cooperative adopted solar interconnection guidelines from SMPPA.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
Partners:
Inver Grove Heights - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
The City of Inver Grove Heights has also adopted a Vertical Access Wind Turbine Ordinance (2013), allowing wind turbines in specified zoning districts.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ally Hillstrom (City staff) | ahillstrom@invergroveheights.org | 651-604-8511
Partners:
Jordan - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Jordan's zoning code had a dedication section for regulations regarding alternative energy.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Nathan Fuerst (City staff) | nfuerst@jordanmn.gov | 952-492-7929
Partners:
Lexington - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Renewable Energy--We have solar energy standards already in place. It is part of our cities code.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Brenda Beaudet (City Staff) | brenda.beaudet@cityoflexingtonmn.org | 763-784-2792
Partners:
Maple Grove - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Maple Grove passed an ordinance allowing geothermal, wind and solar installations thoughout the city subject to restrictions in 2011. Previously wind energy systems were prohibited in the city.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
We are aware of one 40k photovoltaic system that has been implemented in industrial area of the city since the passage of this ordinance however we note that photovoltaics were not previously prohibited like wind energy systems.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Peter Vickerman (City staff) | PVickerman@maplegrovemn.gov | 763-494-6046
Partners:
Mayer - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Mayer has adopted the attached ordinance to address alternative energy systems on August 24, 2015.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Luayn Ruch-Hammond (City staff) | cityadmin@frontiernet.net | 952-657-1502
Partners:
Minnetonka - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The Minnetonka City Code allows solar equipment as a permitted accessory use within all residential zoning districts. Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) are allowed as conditional uses within residential zoning districts. Additionally the city has recommended approval to the planning commission of solar equipment in other zoning districts as part of the site and building plan review process. Conditional use permit standards include setbacks, system design control standards, and compliance with applicable building and electrical code requirements.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The city has been tracking the installation of solar panels within the city through the submission of building permits. The city has seen an increase in solar panel installation in recent years.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Drew Ingvalson (City staff) | dingvalson@eminnetonka.com | 952-939-8293
Partners:
Northfield - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Chapter 34, ARticle 2.10.4(i) & (k) address solar energy and wind energy respectively. These ordinance indicates that we allow these structures to be constructed.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Beth Kallestad (City staff) | beth.kallestad@ci.northfield.mn.us | 507-645-3074
Partners:
Red Wing - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2014
Implementation details:
In July 2014, the City of Red Wing amended its Zoning Land Use provisions by adding a solar ordinance. The Planning and Sustainability Commissions are working together to develop a the solar ordinance standards.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Private and public solar arrays are being built within Red Wing actively.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Paul Drotos (City staff) | paul.drotos@ci.red-wing.mn.us | 651-410-6744
Partners:
Richfield - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Section 544.23 of the Zoning Code states, "No building shall be so tall that its shadow is cast across more than 50 percent of land used for a single-family or two-family building between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on any day of the year. The Council may make exceptions to this requirement if the applicant can prove to the Council's satisfaction that measures have been taken to mitigate this solar access requirement, which measures may include but are not limited to obtaining the consent of the affected property owner(s)."

Students from the U of M prepared a study of the City’s zoning code with a focus on providing recommendations based on the feasibility of four environmentally sustainable practices identified as high priority by city officials in Richfield: residential wind energy, solar panels, green roofs/roof gardens, and rain gardens.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Melissa Poehlman (City staff) | MPoehlman@richfieldmn.gov | 6128619766
Partners:
Roseville - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The zoning code was amended in 2010 creating a policy for reviewing and approving solar energy systems in the city.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ryan Johnson (City staff) | Ryan.johnson@cityofroseville.com | 651-792-7049
Partners:
Royalton - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In April, 2013 the city approved an addition to its Zoning Ordinance to include a section entitled Alternative Energy Ordinance. It includes solar, wind, and biomass.
Our Planning & Zoning are working on incorporating solar and geothermal energy into our Zoning Ordinance and have some preliminary language ready for the council to review at the May 8, 2012 council meeting.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The city felt that since we have solar panels on the roof of city hall we should have an ordinance in place to encourage businesses and individuals to include alternative energy options when making changes to their buildings.

Renewable energy is becoming more desireable and our Zoning Ordinance needs to reflect how the city will incorporate solar and geothermal into our city ordinance.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Andrea Lauer (Elected official) | mayor@royaltonmn.com | 320-630-2229
Partners:
Willmar - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
The city of willmar has a wind ordinance.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
This is a path of implementation for the private sector to use renewable energy with wind.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Sara Jacobson (City staff) | sjacobson@willmarmn.gov | 320-235-4760
Partners:
Woodbury - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Wind and solar energy standards are set in the City’s Municipal Code, Chapter 24, Division 5, titled Alternative Energy Systems. The Alternative Energy Ordinance is explained and promoted at http://ci.woodbury.mn.us/environment/sustainability/alternative-energy-ordinance.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jennifer McLoughlin (City staff) | jmcloughlin@ci.woodbury.mn.us | 651-714-3522
Partners:
Duluth - Pending
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Wind power generation is allowed as an accessory use in all zoning districts in Duluth.
Biomass and wind power generation as a primary use are permitted in Industrial-General zones and by special permit in Industrial-Waterfront zones. They are also allowed either as permitted use or by special permit in 3(wind) or 5(biomass) residential zones as well.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Adam Fulton (City staff) | afulton@hermantownmn.com | 218-729-3618
Partners:
Edina - Pending
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
A Solar/Wind Ordinance Task Force was formed with a first draft created as of January 2012. Work was not completed.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Carry Teague (City staff) | CTeague@ci.Edina.MN.US | (952) 826-0460
Partners: