Protecting Solar Access

This paper discusses public policies that address the risk of solar system shading from development on nearby property. First, the paper briefly discusses the legal background to solar access protection in California. Then, the paper examines four categories of policy solutions: (1) general zoning rules, (2) solar access permits, (3) easements, and (4) a hypothetical public insurance option called a Solar Access Indemnity Fund.

This material was prepared by San Francisco’s Department of the Environment under a U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge grant managed by SolarTech. The aim of this paper is to provide a resource to local governments in California and elsewhere that are interested in improving solar access protections in their communities.