Rules for Solar Arrays?

Lyme already permits solar arrays as a “structure”. Any place you could build a shed or garage, you could install a similar-size solar array. But Lyme’s zoning rules are extremely restrictive, and would prohibit a shed or garage on many, many parcels in town.

The Planning Board is considering regulations for renewable energy such as solar panels. Here are a few questions about renewable energy installations that have been touched on in previous Planning Board meetings:

  • Should there be (zoning) reasons to prohibit a homeowner from installing a solar array? (Obviously, a poor southern exposure might make it impractical. But when should zoning rules prohibit or limit solar arrays?)

  • Should the zoning rules allow a homeowner to power at least 100% of their needs with solar? If not, what’s the cut-off?

  • Should the size of a lot determine how much renewable energy a homeowner can install? (Solar footings typically only touch a very small area of the ground, even for a large above-ground structure. Should this make a difference?)

  • Is the town harmed if solar panels are visible from the road or neighboring properties?

  • Should the rules prohibit solar arrays on agricultural soil? (Much of the flat land in Lyme is agricultural soils.)

  • What about wetland buffers – the 100 foot buffer that surrounds and protects wetlands? (A lot of Lyme is wetlands, so the wetland buffers are large, too.)

  • What about steep slopes?

The Public Hearing this Thursday, September 9, 7pm at the Town Offices will discuss the draft Energy Chapter of the Master Plan [1], but the Planning Board is also seeking public feedback about other energy-related rules.

I hope to see you this Thursday! If you can’t make it, your thoughts will be read at the meeting if you send them to zoning@lymenh.gov.

[1] Proposed Energy Chapter for the Lyme Master Plan – https://www.lymenh.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif4636/f/uploads/energy.chpt_.masterplan.final_.06.2.2021.pdf


Feel free to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email by clicking one of the icons below. Any opinions expressed here are solely my own, and not those of any public body, such as the Lyme Planning Board where I am an alternate member. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts – you can reach me at richb.lyme@gmail.com.