City of Chicago - Solar Zoning Policy

June 02, 2020


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance strictly for the zoning review of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in the City of Chicago. The goal of this policy document is to make zoning design requirements transparent for solar PV system applicants. This policy does not provide specific guidance for the zoning review of solar thermal systems. 

The framework of this policy document is to (1.) identify the major zoning districts and (2.) establish the solar PV system configuration types. The zoning district will have major impacts on a solar PV project and may limit major design features of the system, such as the size and location of the installation. The configuration type for the solar PV system will have specific design requirements. Using the zoning district and system configuration type, the City of Chicago has established design considerations required of the solar PV system in order to obtain zoning approval.

The steps in order to gain approval for a solar PV system are as follows. First the zoning district must be identified. If the property is in a landmark district the solar PV system requires design review; if not the solar PV system configuration type must be established. Once this is complete, it must be determined whether or not the system makes use of the public way. If the system does make use of the public way the the solar PV system requires a public way use permit; otherwise the system must obtain zoning approval.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Local
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: Illinois
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Access Policy
Web Site:
Start Date: November 2015
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar Photovoltaics


Name: City of Chicago Solar Zoning Policy
Date Enacted: November 2015


Name: City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development
Address: 121 N LaSalle St.
Chicago IL 60602
Phone: (312) 744-3653

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.