The purpose of this policy is to help define appropriate locations for solar energy systems, to ensure compatibility with surrounding uses, and to promote safe and effective use of solar energy to increase opportunities for renewable energy generation.
In general, solar energy systems are allowed in all zoning districts. Solar energy system must comply with the minimum yard requirements of the district where they are located. Screening of solar energy systems is not required. All lots in subdivisions of forty (40) acres or more shall be platted in an orientation to maximize solar exposure.
For building-mounted solar energy systems, the height of the system shall not be more than three (3) feet above a slanted roof, and shall not be more than ten (10) feet above a flat roof. The system must be placed a certain distance away from the edge of the roof, based on the height of the system. Systems that use a reflector must minimize glare that affect nearby properties.
For freestanding solar energy systems, the height of the system cannot be more than the main structure or twenty (20) feet, whichever is less. The area of the solar system cannot be more than five (5) percent of the lot area. Systems that use a reflector must minimize glare that affect nearby properties.
Solar access easements may be filed consistent with Minnesota Statutes, Section 500.30. Any property owner may purchase an easement across nearby properties to protect access to sunlight. The easement is purchased or granted by owners of nearby properties and can apply to buildings, trees, or other structures that would diminish solar access.