Zoning ordinances or by-laws may encourage the use of solar energy systems and protect solar access by regulation of the orientation of streets, lots and buildings, maximum building height limits, minimum building set back requirements, limitations on the type, height and placement of vegetation and other provisions. Zoning ordinances or by-laws may also establish buffer zones and additional districts that protect solar access which overlap existing zoning districts. Zoning ordinances or by-laws may further regulate the planting and trimming of vegetation on public property to protect the solar access of private and public solar energy systems and buildings. Solar energy systems may be exempted from set back, building height, and roof and lot coverage restrictions.
Solar access provisions in Massachusetts allow for the creation of voluntary solar easements to protect solar exposure and authorizes zoning rules that prohibit unreasonable restrictions on solar access. Similar to solar easement provisions in many other states, solar easements in Massachusetts allow for the voluntary creation of solar access contracts, but do not make solar access an automatic right. In addition, the statutes allow for communities to authorize zoning boards to issue permits creating solar rights.
Solar Easement creation documents must include but are not limited to:
Massachusetts also prohibits restrictions on solar devices, voiding "any provision in an instrument relative to the ownership or use of real property which purports to forbid or unreasonably restrict the installation or use of a solar energy system ... or the building of structures that facilitate the collection of solar energy."
Furthermore, Massachusetts zoning laws prohibit local governments from enacting rules that prohibit or "unreasonably regulate" solar energy systems.
|Incentive Type:||Solar/Wind Access Policy|
|Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:||
|Name:||M.G.L. ch. 187 § 1A. Solar easements|
|Name:||M.G.L. ch. 184 § 23C. Solar energy systems; installation or use; restrictive provisions|
|Name:||M.G.L. ch. 40A § 1A. et seq.|
|Name:||M.G.L. ch. 41 § 81Q. Planning board; adoption of rules and regulations|
|Name:||M.G.L. ch. 40A § 9B. Solar access|
|Name:||Public Information Officer|
|Organization:||Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources|
100 Cambridge Street
Boston MA 02110-1313
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.
Copyright © 2023 EnergyBot • All rights reserved.
1601 Bryan St Suite 900, Dallas, TX 75201