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Local Restriction of Solar Energy Projects: Navigating and Resolving Different Approaches to Land Use Conflicts

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

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, March 28, 2024

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will discuss current trends in local regulation of commercial and residential solar projects by examining contracting issues and solutions that arise under the states in which the panelists practice. In doing so, the panel will review why local governments want to regulate, the current state of regulation and emerging trends, what activities can and are being regulated, and how local governments are enforcing regulations.


Local regulation and restriction of solar projects continue to increase nationwide. At one end of the spectrum are specific laws that may ban full-scale commercial projects. Further along the spectrum, some local governments have delayed development until adequate rules can be put into place while others have shored up zoning and other land use requirements, such as setbacks, vegetation management plans, agricultural restrictions, wildlife movement requirements, etc. Some states have set up state-wide siting committees to address development concerns. Some states have set up state-wide siting committees to address development concerns, while others have restricted municipal regulation.

Local governments have the discretion to reasonably restrict the magnitude and placement of solar energy systems. The issues most often discussed in connection with large utility-scale solar projects relate to the sheer amount of acreage needed for these projects and competing uses, the potential for stormwater erosion when vegetation is cleared, environmental impact issues, and decommissioning issues.

At the single property or residential implementation of solar, consumers are increasingly turning to litigation and consumer protection lawsuits to address alleged abuses by solar companies.

Listen as our experienced panel offers both local government attorneys and counsel representing energy developers guidance on local regulation of commercial and residential solar projects.



  1. Local regulation of utility scale and distributed solar projects as demonstrated by two states with differing approaches
  2. Wisconsin
    1. Municipality involvement
    2. Limitation on local regulation by state statute
    3. Permitted municipal regulatory authority
    4. Conditional use permit – statutory requirements - 62.23(7)(de)
    5. Common issues/areas of regulation:
    6. Taxes
    7. Joint development agreements for projects 100 mw and above
    8. Ordinances
  3. Texas
    1. Regulation of electricity generation generally limited to the Texas public utilities commission
    2. Health and safety regulation generally limited to state agencies with some exceptions
    3. Growing political opposition in some counties to solar on an ideological basis
    4. Limitations on county regulatory powers
    5. City authority
    6. General regulation and topics


The panel will discuss these and other key issues:

  • Why do local governments need a solar ordinance?
  • What do local ordinances regulate?
  • What third-party experts should a local government engage in connection with a solar project application process?
  • What practical strategies can be used to engage stakeholders on all sides?


Deatherage, Scott
Scott D. Deatherage

S Deatherage Law

Over the last 30 years of his career, Mr. Deatherage has focused his practice on energy, environment, water, and...  |  Read More

Hagen, Eric
Eric B. Hagen

Boardman & Clark

Mr. Hagen primarily practices municipal law, with a focus on general municipal law, real estate transactions, land...  |  Read More

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