Cover image of the Planning & Zoning for Solar Energy Systems document.

Planning & Zoning for Solar Energy Systems: A Guide for Michigan Local Governments

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October 5, 2021 - Author: , , , n and , ; Sarah Mills, University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute

The purpose of this guide is to help Michigan com­munities meet the challenge of becoming solar-ready by addressing solar energy systems (SES) within their planning policies and zoning regulations. This document illustrates how var­ious scales and configurations of photovoltaic SES fit into landscape patterns ranging between rural, sub­urban, and urban. The guide was devel­oped by experts within MSU Extension and the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction in part­nership with faculty at the University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute. Further review of this document was completed by content experts from local units of government, legal counsel, energy-re­lated non-profits, utility experts, and members of academia. Its intent is to help Michigan communities make public policy decisions related to solar energy development. This guide is written for use by local planners, offi­cials, legal counsel, and policymakers within the State of Michigan. It first presents the current context for solar in Michigan, describes the various components and configurations of SES, and provides principles for how SES might fit within various land-use pat­terns across the state. Then, the guide presents sample language for including SES into a community’s zoning ordinance.

Authors include:

  • Wayne Beyea, JD, AICP, Senior Specialist, Michigan State University School of Planning, Design and Construction (beyea@msu.edu)
  • Harmony Fierke-Gmazel, AICP, Educator, Michigan State University Extension, Government and Community Vitality (gmazelh@msu.edu)
  • M. Charles Gould, Educator, Michigan State University Extension, Bioenergy (gouldm@msu.edu)
  • Sarah Mills, PhD, Senior Project Manager, University of Michigan, Graham Sustainability Institute (sbmills@umich.edu)
  • Bradley Neumann, AICP, Senior Educator, Michigan State University Extension, Government and Community Vitality (neuman36@msu.edu)
  • Mary Reilly, AICP, Educator, Michigan State University Extension, Government and Community Vitality (reillym8@msu.edu)

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Tags: community planning, government, msu extension, planning, renewable energy planning, zoning


Authors

Brad Neumann

Brad Neumann
neuman36@msu.edu

Wayne Beyea

Wayne Beyea
beyea@msu.edu

Harmony Fierke-Gmazel

Harmony Fierke-Gmazel
gmazelh@msu.edu

M. Charles Gould

M. Charles Gould
gouldm@msu.edu

Mary Reilly

Mary Reilly
reillym8@msu.edu

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