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Zoning is the way local governments control the physical development of land, buildings, and whole neighborhoods.  Installers or developers will handle the process of ensuring solar projects are in alignment with local zoning law, and will secure the necessary permits, reviews and approvals as needed by the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). There is significant variation among New York jurisdictional zoning codes, even between neighboring jurisdictions throughout the state.

NYSolar Smart

Sustainable CUNY, through the NYSolar Smart Program, formed a working group consisting of stakeholder jurisdictions, PACE Law Center and NYSERDA, to undertake a comprehensive review of zoning and planning best practices and develop model zoning ordinances for New York jurisdictions who are looking to remove barriers associated with zoning. 

The New York Solar Guidebook

NYSERDA has now published a guidebook that has information, tools, and step-by-step instructions to support local governments managing solar energy development in their communities. The Guidebook contains chapters on various solar energy topics including zoning, the permitting process, property taxes, and more. New York Solar Guidebook


New York City

Sustainable CUNY of the City University of New York, worked with partners under the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to develop the Solar Planning and Zoning Implementation Guide for NYC in 2013. Additional information can be found on the NYC Department of Buildings webpage for Design Professional Requirements: Solar