Maine Solar Easement Rights and Laws

Program Maine Solar Easement Rights and Laws
Category Regulatory Policy
Implementing sector State
Last Update
State Maine
Technologies Solar - Passive, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Solar Pool Heating
Sectors Residential

Maine law requires that any municipal ordinance, bylaw, or regulation adopted after September 30, 2009 regulating solar energy devices on residential property follow certain requirements. The rules, bylaws, and regulations of homeowner associations (HOAs) must also follow these requirements. Specifically, these legal instruments may not prohibit a person from installing or using a solar energy device (including a clothesline or drying rack) on residential property owned by that person. In the case of a leased/rented property, the policy protects the renter's right to use a clothesline or drying rack.

The municipal reviewing authority may, to protect and ensure access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems, prohibit, restrict or control development through subdivision regulations. The regulations may call for subdivision development plans containing restrictive covenants, height restrictions, side yard and set-back requirements or other permissible forms of land use controls.

Ordinances, bylaws, or regulations may reasonably restrict the installation and use of solar energy devices to protect public health and safety, buildings from damage, historic/aesthetic values (when a comparable alternative is available), and to protect shorelands (under shoreland zoning provisions). Legal instruments may restrict the use of solar energy devices on residential property that is commonly owned with third parties or in the common areas of condominiums.

Maine allows for the creation of solar easements for the purpose of ensuring access to direct sunlight. They must be created in writing and shall be recorded and indexed in the same way as other conveyances of real property interests. Solar easements must be appurtenant and run with the land benefited and burdened, and are subject to court decreed abandonment and other limitations provided by law.

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