Planning and Zoning

California law requires that by 2020, one-third of California’s electricity must be generated from renewable energy sources. Planning and zoning restrictions often limit where new solar installations can be located. New subdivisions and buildings typically are not designed to readily accommodate solar PV energy systems without a retrofit.

Currently there is no clear guidance nor accepted standards available to municipalities or counties regarding the siting of solar PV energy systems. The California County Planning Directors Association (CCPDA) has developed a “Solar Energy Facility Permit Streamlining Guide and Model Ordinance” that can be used by local governments as a starting point to develop local policies and zoning ordinances that streamline the solar PV permitting process. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research is responsible for developing Statewide General Plan Guidelines, which provide guidance to cities and counties in the preparation of their local general plans. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research has begun its 2013 update of the Guidelines.

We are working to encourage the development of statewide standards and guidelines regardingzoning, subdivisions, site design standards, and building codes for solar development