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

[1] Proposed Energy Chapter for the Lyme Master Plan –

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