Solar Energy Planning & Implementation Resources

The Metropolitan Land Planning Act requires that the Comprehensive Plan shall contain “an element for the protection and development of access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems.” Given the availability of new data, our ability to measure solar as a natural resource has greatly improved. Subsequently, communities have four (4) Minimum Requirements to fulfill in their 2040 Comprehensive Plan Updates.

The purpose of this webpage is to provide the most up-to-date catalogue of resources to support communities in their Solar Energy Planning and Implementation efforts. These resources include useful guides, organizations, and tools from across the State of Minnesota, the Upper Midwest Region, and the Country. This page was developed through Local Planning Assistance’s collaboration with the Great Plains Institute, Minnesota GreenStep Cities, the McKnight Foundation, and the SolSmart Program, which provides no-cost technical assistance from a team of national experts who work with local governments to evaluate programs and practices that impact solar markets, and identify high-prospect opportunities for improvement.

  1. Twin Cities Metro Community Solar Resources: Solar Ordinances, Webpages, & Plans
  2. Great Plains Institute: Grow Solar Local Government Solar Toolkit (p. 28)
  3. MN Department of Labor and Industry: Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Resources
  4. Interstate Renewable Energy Center: Sharing Success – Emerging Approaches to Efficient Rooftop Solar Permitting
  5. SolSmart Program: Residential Permit Fee Calculator
  6. SolSmart Program: Best Practice Actions and Resources
  1. MN Department of Labor and Industry: Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Resources
  2. Interstate Renewable Energy Center: Model Inspection Checklist for Rooftop PV Systems
  3. George Washington Solar Institute: Residential Solar Inspection Best Practices Part 1 – Rooftop
  4. George Washington Solar Institute: Residential Solar Inspection Best Practices Part 2 – Ground Level
  5. SolSmart Program: Best Practice Actions and Resources
    1. Actions
    2. Resources
  1. Citizens Utility Board
  2. MN Public Utilities Commission
  3. MN Department of Commerce: Solar Consumer Protection
  4. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA): Consumer Protection
  5. Interstate Renewable Energy Center: Consumer Bill of Rights / Consumer Checklist
  6. SolSmart Program: Best Practice Actions and Resources
    1. Actions
    2. Resources
  1. Citizens Utility Board: Saving Money
  2. Citizens Utility Board: Consumer Resources
  3. The Solar Foundation: The Role of Municipal Utilities in Driving Solar Development
  4. MN Solar Pathways: Illuminating Pathways to 10% Solar in MN
  5. Xcel Energy’s Partners In Energy Program
  6. SolSmart Program: Best Practice Actions and Resources
    1. Actions
    2. Resources 
  1. PlanIt: Comprehensive Planning for Solar Energy Systems Webinar 
  2. NEW! MN CERTs: SolSmart Permitting & Inspections Webinar (This accredited training fulfills credit for SolSmart actions P-8 and I-1)
  3. NEW! American Planning Association: Using Solar Energy to Enhance Community Resilience
  4. International City/County Management Association: Promoting Solar Energy Use Through Local Planning
    1. Promoting Solar Energy Use Through Local Plans
    2. Promoting Solar Energy Use Through Local Development Regulations
    3. Putting Solar Energy Use on the Local Policy Agenda
  5. Interstate Renewable Energy Council: Photovoltaics Online Training Course for Code Officials
  6. Underwriters Laboratory: Firefighter Safety and PV Course
  7. NEW! US EPA: Quantifying the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: A Guide for State and Local Governments

Metropolitan Council Solar Partners