Supporting Clean and Sustainable Energy through Ordinances

Regulating Renewable Energy as an Accessory or Principal Use

The Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research has developed a comprehensive Municipal Officials' Guide to Grid-Scale Solar Development in PA, including issues related to land use, land conservation, tax implications, and ordinance considerations.


SolSmart's Zoning best practices guide

Chester County Planning Commission's Solar Ordinance Do's and Dont's for Accessory Use and Utility Scale solar ordinances

Chester County Solar Power Guide provides guidance to the county's municipalities on regulating solar power facilities. The guide is focused on larger grid-scale solar facilities, but includes information on accessory use solar power.

Chester County Sample Solar Ordinances — As of July 2023, 42 Chester County municipalities have some form of solar energy regulations in place. Several municipalities also address additional types of clean energy such as wind and geothermal systems. These examples address both accessory use and principal use solar energy systems.

DVRPC Renewable Energy Ordinance Frameworks

DVRPC's Renewable Energy Ordinance Frameworks serve as a resource for municipalities as they develop and update ordinances to govern the siting of small-scale renewable energy systems in their community. The purpose of these frameworks is to provide clear, consistent guidance on how to construct renewable energy ordinances that are consistent with state laws; are not overly restrictive or contradictory to the nature of renewable energy systems; and promote safe and sound community development.

solar on roof

Renewable Energy Frameworks have been developed for the following renewable energy technologies:

Montgomery County Solar Information

The Montgomery County Planning Commission provides a number of alternative energy resources on their Solar Information webpage including a Field Inspection Checklist for Rooftop Photovoltaic Systems and Renewable Energy: a series on alternative energy sources which covers the following topics:

Bucks and Cumberland Counties

The Bucks County Planning Commission developed a model ordinance for alternative energy facilities and the Cumberland County Planning Department created an information guide about solar energy systems.