How local municipalities in Massachusetts can control industrial solar

Local municipalities – cities and towns- have the legal authority to control solar projects. Most have zoning laws that control solar in various ways-by size, zoning district and other ways they can exercise what is known as their “police powers” to protect the public health, safety and welfare.

Some of the strongest solar zoning bylaws are here.

Town of Buckland, MA:

Ground mounted solar by-law is found in Section XIV, page 75 here.

The Town of Buckland solar by-law includes a section on Habitat and Hazardous Material (shown below).

Town of Buckland solar by-law includes a Habitat Impacts section

The ‘Habitat Impact’ section of the town of Buckland solar by-law is extensive and protects many forested landscapes. If Wareham or Carver had a similar by-law, then much of the forest would be protected from ground-mounted solar!

The “Hazardous Materials” section of the town of Buckland recognizes the potential of hazardous waste in the solar projects and provides some guidance for safety regarding the hazardous waste. If Wareham and Carver would adopt such by-laws, this would limit the amount of potential hazardous waste from solar projects, including battery facilities.

Town of Shrewsbury, MA:

Ground-mounted solar installation by-laws are featured in Section VII (R), click here.