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State and Local Permitting Restrictions on Solar Energy Development

Philip Rossetti and Josiah Neeley of R Street analyze restrictions on solar development.

The C3 Take
  • 9 percent of counties in the U.S. have restrictive ordinances on solar energy, far less than what wind power faces.
  • Of this amount, 93 percent are what the authors call “less restrictive” and comprise of setback ordinances of less than 200 feet.
  • The authors also note that ordinances are on the rise, especially as the use of solar increases.

“In our analysis of wind ordinances, we found that not only were there numerous county-level wind ordinances but that the rate of adoption for new ordinances was accelerating. While there are fewer solar ordinances, this trend is similar for PV solar, which also has an accelerating rate of adoption of new ordinances restricting siting. As a caveat, the NREL database does not have the adoption year for every ordinance, so this assessment is only using ordinances for which there is such data collected. And, similar to our finding with wind ordinances, as solar power becomes more common, so too do ordinances restricting it.”

Read the full analysis here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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