Office of Planning Moves to Bring Solar Power to Every DC Neighborhood

  • February 8th 2019

by Nena Perry-Brown

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Update: The Zoning Commission has approved the text amendment on an emergency basis for the next 120 days; a public hearing will be scheduled during that time for a vote on the permanent amendment.

Could solar power soon be readily available in every DC neighborhood?

Two weeks after a community solar installation was applied for in Ward 8, the Office of Planning (OP) is proposing to make similar projects by-right across the city.

OP has put forth an emergency text amendment which establishes what a "Community Renewable Energy Facility" (CREF), or Community Solar Energy System, is and also authorizes CREFs as matter-of-right in every zone in the city. A CREF is defined as a "facility used for the generation and subsequent assignment of renewable energy generated by a community solar energy system." Examples include roof-mounted solar arrays, ground-mounted solar arrays, and solar canopies.

The zoning application cites the recent passage of the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018, which sets a goal that the entire city will be using 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2032, as an impetus behind the proposal. Concurrently, the District Department of Energy and the Environment's Solar for All program aims to cut the energy bills of at least 100,000 low-income households in half by the end of 2032.

CREFs would be exempt from being considered a "utility" use and will not factor into mechanical equipment measurements atop garages. In residential zones, CREFs would still be required to adhere to the existing height and yard standards. 

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/office-of-planning-proposes-option-of-community-solar-for-all/14988.

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