Guidebook for Local Governments

NY-Sun Solar Guidebook
for Local Governments [PDF]
The New York Solar Guidebook 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, the permitting process, property taxes, and more.

You can download the full New York Solar Guidebook as a PDF or access individual chapters below.

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If you have a question on getting solar in your community, or need help with a chapter of the Guidebook, and we’ll respond to you within 24 hours. For more hands-on support, learn more about our free training and technical assistance opportunities.

New York State Unified Solar Permit

The New York State Unified Solar Permit is designed by NYSERDA to standardize the permitting process and help guide local officials on how to onboard applications and inspect projects. Find details on implementing the Unified Solar Permit in your community. Instructions are provided below to help local government officials understand the solar permitting and inspection process while ensuring efficiency, transparency, and safety.

Permitting and Inspection Tools

Roof Top Access and Ventilation Requirements

This document will help clarify the 2015 International Residential Code and errata amendments as adopted by New York State.

State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) for Solar

This guidance document provides background information and step-by-step instructions for municipal boards serving as Lead Agency in the SEQR process for large-scale solar energy systems.

Understanding the Real Property Tax Law Section § 487

This fact sheet highlights important information for local governments considering opting out of RPTL Section 487.

Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) Toolkit

This toolkit assists New York State municipalities considering Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) agreements for community solar projects larger than 1 MW. Users are encouraged to read the cover sheet before using the other resources.

The Solar PILOT Toolkit includes:

View the Solar PILOT Toolkit webinarLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. hosted on July 25, 2017.

NY-Sun staff welcomes questions from local governments about these resources. To ask a question, please email

Land Use Tools for Siting Solar While Protecting Farmland

This guidance document explains how municipalities can use special-use permits and site plan regulations to support solar energy development while ensuring that their most valuable and productive farmland remains in operation.

Solar Installations in Agricultural Districts

This fact sheet is meant to help municipalities navigate the potential impacts of siting solar photovoltaics in agricultural districts.

Landowner Considerations for Solar Land Leases

This fact sheet is meant to help landowners identify key questions and potential impacts of leasing land for solar projects.

Decommissioning of Solar

This fact sheet provides information to local governments and landowners on the decommissioning of large-scale solar panel systems.

Model Solar Energy Local Law

The Model Solar Energy Local Law is intended to assist municipalities in drafting local laws and ordinances, and to facilitate ideas for properly incorporating solar language into local zoning laws and policies.

Municipal Solar Procurement Toolkit

This Toolkit assists local municipalities lease their existing underutilized lands, such as landfills and brownfields, for solar development.

The Procurement Toolkit includes: