Rockingham County - Small Wind Ordinance

August 15, 2023


In October 2004, the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors approved a zoning ordinance for small wind energy systems, the first of its kind in Virginia. Students at James Madison University drafted the original ordinance with guidance from members of the Virginia Wind Energy Collaborative (VWEC) and assistance from members of Rockingham County's planning board.

Although net metering is not required, the ordinance complements the state's net-metering regulations and requires compliance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code, FAA Regulations, National Electrical Code, and Virginia Regulations Governing Net Metering.

Other key provisions include:

  • Use of wind turbine must be primarily to reduce on-site electricity consumption.
  • Minimum parcel size of 1 acre.
  • Maximum height of 65 feet for parcels of land between 1 and 5 acres, and 80 feet for a parcel larger than five acres.
  • Setback from property lines of 110% of tower height and 150% setback from inhabited dwelling on neighboring property. These limits may be reduced with consent of the adjacent property owner.
  • Noise limit of 60 decibels at the closest property line.
  • Proof of liability insurance for system


Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Local
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: Virginia
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Web Site:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Wind (All)
  • Wind (Small)


Name: County of Rockingham Code Sec. 17-606 Wind Energy Systems Large and Small-Scale
Date Enacted: 10/2004


Name: Dylan Nicely
Organization: Planning | Rockingham County, VA
Address: 20 East Gay Street
Harrisonburg VA 22802
Phone: (540) 830-9435

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.