Environmental Issues in Solar Energy Projects

Pre-Project Environmental Due Diligence, Environmental Impact Review, Federal Permitting Requirements

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A


Conducted on Thursday, June 27, 2019

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide an overview of the environmental laws and regulations governing the development of solar power projects, from small rooftop installations sited on existing buildings to utility-scale solar farms. The panel will discuss pre-project environmental due diligence, compliance with federal and state environmental impact review requirements, and compliance with federal permitting and review requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), the National Historical Preservation Act (NHPA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), among others.

Description

From rooftop installation of solar panels to multi-acre solar farms, the development, installation and construction of solar power projects have increased dramatically in recent years. The market is also increasingly demanding electricity from renewable sources (including solar), with many companies committing to sourcing renewable energy for their operations.

Many businesses are adding solar installations to their rooftops and entering into power purchase agreements directly with developers of renewable energy projects. Residential solar installations and community solar projects are also increasing in popularity.

Although solar projects are generally seen as promoting environmental values, the key to any successful project is an understanding of the environmental issues related to siting these projects. Counsel for stakeholders in solar power projects must know the array of local, state, and federal permits and approvals required to construct and operate a solar power project. These requirements vary significantly between small rooftop installations sited on existing buildings to utility-scale solar farms that may involve the clearing of thousands of acres of land. The environmental concerns may be local in concern, such as dealing with glare, and loss of open space and prime agricultural lands, or may be regional, such as dealing with loss of genetic connectivity for endangered species.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses pre-project environmental due diligence, compliance with federal and state environmental impact review requirements, and compliance with federal permitting and review requirements under applicable law.

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Outline

  1. Environmental issues and solar power
  2. Small-scale residential and commercial installations
    1. Pre-application project planning and environmental due diligence
    2. Environmental impact issues under federal and state law
  3. Utility-scale solar power project siting
    1. Pre-application project planning and environmental due diligence
    2. Environmental impact review under federal and state law

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the environmental laws and regulations governing the development of solar power projects?
  • What are best practices for pre-project environmental due diligence?
  • How does one comply with federal and state environmental impact review requirements?
  • What are the best practices for project siting?
  • What are standard environmental and other permitting requirements under local and state siting laws?
  • What roles do NEPA, FLPMA, CWA, ESA, NHPA, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act play?

Faculty

Spitzer, Daniel
Daniel A. Spitzer

Partner
Hodgson Russ

Mr. Spitzer concentrates his practice on issues involving environmental law, renewable energy, sustainable development,...  |  Read More

Weiner , Peter
Peter H. Weiner

Partner
Paul Hastings

Mr. Weiner heads the firm’s Environment and Energy Practice. He represents renewable energy companies, real...  |  Read More

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