City of Albuquerque - Solar Easements and Rights Laws

Program City of Albuquerque - Solar Easements and Rights Laws
Category Regulatory Policy
Implementing sector Local
Last Update
State New Mexico
Technologies Solar Water Heat, Solar Photovoltaics
Sectors Residential

In 2006, Albuquerque enacted a prohibition on private restrictions on the installation of solar collectors. The Development Review Board requires that all plats approved contain the following language: “No property within the area…shall at any time be subject to a deed restriction, covenant, or binding agreement prohibiting solar collectors from being installed on buildings or erected on the lots or parcels within the area of proposed plat. The foregoing requirement shall be a condition to approval of this plat or site development plan for subdivision," (§ 14-14-4-7).

The State of New Mexico has a separate solar rights law.

Permit for Solar Rights

A solar right is granted through a permitting process (§ 14-11-6 et seq.). The spatial and temporal limits of one’s solar right are defined by the permit for solar rights issued for solar collectors. The permit for solar rights can grant solar access such that the time periods include between 9am and 3pm at the winter solstice and between 9am and 5pm on the summer solstice. The application fee is $50.

A permit for solar rights belongs to the property upon which the solar collector is situated. A solar right is enforceable as an “easement appurtenant” against any person whose obstruction first infringed or was planned to infringe on such right after that person had knowledge or notice of the solar right.

Neither a solar right nor a permit for solar rights is transferable separately from the property upon which the related solar collector is located (unless the right is acquired for a public purpose by an entity which has power of eminent domain). However, the owner of the property burdened by the permit may buy the buy the permit from its owner and terminate or diminish the solar right.

Solar Access Provisions in Building Codes

Building codes generally reinforce solar access in Albuquerque by preventing shading and ensuring solar access to developments.

To facilitate solar access, local and major local streets are required to be oriented in accordance with the requirements specified in the Development Process Manual (§ 14-14-4-2).

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