Development of a template solar ordinance for North Carolina
The N.C. Solar Center in collaboration with the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is bringing together stakeholders to help develop a template solar ordinance for North Carolina. Ground mounted solar systems, often referred to as “solar farms”, are being installed with increasing regularity across the state, however the majority of jurisdictions do not have a development ordinance that explicitly covers such solar systems, thereby creating uncertainty about the permitting process. The eventual product of this effort will be the Southeast’s first-of-its-kind guide for harmonizing the elements included in the permitting of solar energy facilities, offering a path that could facilitate solar project development for companies and landowners while simultaneously creating a framework for the inclusion of local values and interests. To assist with creating this template ordinance, both the N.C. Solar Center and NCSEA are hosting several forums to discuss current stakeholder issues. There are several ways to become engaged in the template development process: attend local public forums, provide input online, and join the stakeholder working group.
The kick-off forum was held on May 31st at the N.C. Museum of Natural Science’s Nature Research Center, where state and local officials, local landowners, legal experts, and clean energy business representatives shared views and offered insights regarding solar development. “The Solar Development and Siting forums bring together a wide cross section of stakeholders to discuss the issues and challenges facing solar projects, with the goal of developing a template solar ordinance for North Carolina that can be adapted and adopted by counties and municipalities across the state”, said Tommy Cleveland, Solar Engineer with the N.C. Solar Center.
Subsequent meetings are planned for Greensboro (June 27), Asheville (August 8), Lumberton (August 20th), and a final forum to be held in Charlotte in late October. Each event is a chance to engage in discussions about solar development in North Carolina. In addition to hearing from stakeholders at these forums, stakeholders will be able to make suggestions for the ordinance, as well as vote and comment on the suggestions of other stakeholders. This opportunity for open stakeholder engagement is available through early August. The input from this online tool will inform the stakeholder working group, made up of key stakeholders representing the interests of landowners, county and city planners, solar industry, agriculture, and many others.
For more information about the forums, participation in the stakeholder working group, or the development of the template solar ordinance for North Carolina please contact.
Tommy Cleveland at 919.515.9432, Tommy_Cleveland@ncsu.edu.
Miriam Makhyoun, NCSEA, 919.832.7601×114, Miriam@energync.org.