Last Updated July 19, 2021
Solar/Wind Access Policy
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
New Hampshire State laws give municipalities broad jurisdiction over solar access regulation. Regulation is directionally intended to encourage the use of renewable energy sources and systems. The state itself creates the forms to declare solar easements.
Note: The 2015 New Hampshire Residential Rooftop Solar PV Permitting, Zoning and Interconnection Guide is an excellent resource to refer to for more details and related information. (Most information is up to date but no guarantees are made)
Creates Solar Skyspace Easements. Defining the agreement as “An instrument creating a solar skyspace easement shall include, but not be limited to: (a) A description of the vertical and horizontal angles, expressed in degrees and measured from the site of the solar energy system, at which the solar skyspace easement extends over the real property subject to the solar skyspace easement, or any other description which describes the 3-dimensional space, or the place and times of day in which an obstruction to solar energy is prohibited or limited;
States that a solar skyspace easement shall not terminate within 10 years after it’s creation unless expressly stated in the instrument or is otherwise negotiated by the owners of the benefited and burdened land.
Creates the statutory form of solar skyspace easement with 2 alternative forms.
Declares that Planning, zoning and related regulations are the responsibility of municipal government and that proper regulations encourage the energy efficient patterns of development, the use of solar energy, including adequate access to direct sunlight for solar energy uses, and the use of other renewable forms of energy, and energy conservation. Therefore, the installation of solar, wind, or other renewable energy systems or the building of structures that facilitate the collection of renewable energy shall not be unreasonably limited by use of municipal zoning powers or by the unreasonable interpretation of such powers except where necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.
Subsection 3-d clarifies that “unreasonable interpretation” of municipal zoning ordinances includes failure of municipal authorities to recognize that renewable energy systems are accessory uses and that prohibition of such accessory uses cannot be inferred from an ordinance that does not specifically address such uses.
Declares that the purpose of zoning ordinances is to, in part, “to encourage the installation and use of solar, wind, or other renewable energy systems and protect access to energy sources by the regulation of orientation of streets, lots, and buildings; establishment of maximum building height, minimum set back requirements, and limitations on type, height, and placement of vegetation; and encouragement of the use of solar skyspace easements under RSA 477. Zoning ordinances may establish buffer zones or additional districts which overlap existing districts and may further regulate the planting and trimming of vegetation on public and private property to protect access to renewable energy systems.”
Allows planning boards to adopt subdivision regulations that “Encourage the installation and use of solar, wind, or other renewable energy systems and protect access to energy sources by the regulation of orientation of streets, lots, and buildings; establishment of maximum building height, minimum set back requirements, and limitations on type, height, and placement of vegetation; and encouragement of the use of solar skyspace easements under RSA 477.”
Enables municipalities to include an energy section in their master plans that, among other issues, includes a policy statement on energy conservation