The City of Boulder enacted an ordinance in 1982 to guarantee access to sunlight for homeowners and renters.
Solar access is guaranteed setting limits on the amount of permitted shading by new construction. The degree of solar access protection is defined by either a 12 foot or 25 foot hypothetical "solar fence" on the property lines of the protected buildings. The ordinance is designed to protect access for a 4-hour period on December 21st. Under most circumstances, new structures will not be allowed to shade adjacent lots to a greater extent than the applicable solar fence.
There are three Solar Access Areas in Boulder based on a property’s zoning district. Depending on the applicable Solar Access Area, a lot is protected by a 12 foot solar fence, a 25 foot solar fence, or only through the solar permit process.
Solar Access Permitting
A solar access permit is also available to those who have installed or who plan to install a solar energy system and need more protection than is provided automatically by the applicable solar fence. Once granted, a solar access permit is valid for the reasonable life expectancy of the particular solar energy system; a permit also expires if the solar energy system is not installed within 1 year after issuance of the permit or “has not functioned to fulfill its intended purpose for a continuous period of 2 or more years.” Permits may be renewed after expiration.
Solar Siting Requirements
All planned unit developments and subdivisions must be designed and constructed to provide good access to solar. Specifically, all residential units are required to have the following:
Each nonresidential building with an anticipated hot water demand of 1,000 gallons a day or more must have a roof surface meeting the following criteria:
Waivers of solar siting requirements are available to developers for a variety of reasons, such as if the proposed development incorporates additional energy resource and conservation options that exceed the requirements of the Green Points Building Program.
|Solar/Wind Access Policy
|Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
|Municipal Code of Boulder 9-9-17
|Planning and Development Services
|City of Boulder
P.O. Box 791
Boulder CO 80306
This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.
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