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North Carolina

North Carolina

Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Solar Rights   

Last DSIRE Review: 08/09/2012
Program Overview:
State: North Carolina
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Access Policy
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Passive Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Photovoltaics, Solar Pool Heating
Applicable Sectors: Residential, Multi-Family Residential
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 160A-201
7/27/2007, subsequently amended
10/1/2007
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 153A-144
7/27/2007, subsequently amended
10/1/2007
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 22B-20
7/27/2007, subsequently amended
10/1/2007
Authority 4:
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 160A-400.4
Summary:

Cities and counties in North Carolina generally may not adopt ordinances prohibiting the installation of "a solar collector that gathers solar radiation as a substitute for traditional energy for water heating, active space heating and cooling, passive heating, or generating electricity for residential property."* However, city and county ordinances may prohibit the installation of solar-energy collectors that are visible from the ground and installed (1) on the facade of a structure that faces areas open to common or public access; (2) on a roof surface that slopes downward toward the same areas open to common or public access that the facade of the structure faces; or (3) within the area set off by a line running across the facade of the structure extending to the property boundaries on either side of the facade, and those areas of common or public access faced by the structure.

Furthermore, deed restrictions, covenants or similar binding agreements that run with the land recorded on or after October 1, 2007,** that would prohibit the installation of solar-energy collectors for residential property on land subject to the deed restriction, covenant or agreement are void and unenforceable. However, this provision does not apply to solar-energy collectors that are visible from the ground and installed:

  • On the facade of a structure that faces areas open to common or public access;
  • On a roof surface that slopes downward toward the same areas open to common or public access that the facade of the structure faces; or
  • Within the area set off by a line running across the facade of the structure extending to the property boundaries on either side of the facade, and those areas of common or public access faced by the structure.

City and county ordinances, deeds, covenants and other binding agreements may regulate the location or screening of a solar-energy collector, provided they do not have the effect of preventing the reasonable use of a solar-energy collector for a detached single-family home. In any civil action related to North Carolina's solar-access laws, the court may award costs and reasonable attorneys' fees to the prevailing party.


* SB 670 of 2007 used the term "detached single-family residences". HB 1387 of 2009 changed this term to "residential property". The sections of the bill dealing with city and county ordinances use a simple definition for residential property: "property where the predominant use is for residential purposes." The section of the bill dealing with deed restrictions and covenants uses a more nuanced definition for residential property, specifically stating: "residential property does not include any condominium created under Chapter 47A or 47C of the General Statutes located in a multi-story building containing units having horizontal boundaries described in the declaration. As used in this section, the term "declaration" has the same meaning as in G.S. 47A-3 or G.S. 47C-1-103, depending on the chapter of the General Statutes under which the condominium was created."

** SB 670 of 2007 established that the law applied only to deed restrictions, covenants or similar binding agreements recorded after October 1, 2007. HB 1387, in amending the law to apply to a wider definition of "residential property", established that the law only applies to property fitting the new definition if the deed restriction or covenant was recorded after December 1, 2009.


 
Contact:
  Bob Leker
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
State Energy Office
512 N. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC 27604
Phone: (919) 733-1907
E-Mail: bleker@nccommerce.com
Web Site: http://www.ncdenr.gov/
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2013 - 2014 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.