This list of issues was developed at the May 19, 2011 meeting and updated June 02. 2011 meeting of the Working Group.  The group is working to come to consensus on each of these issues.  Then, upon completion of this information, a First Draft of the Model Solar Energy Facility Ordinance will be developed for review.  Please check back as this list will be updated after each meeting.  (UPDATED 2011-06-02)

Solar Energy Facility (SEF) Working Group Progress on Issues/Discussion Items
Item # Topic Result Notes/Comments Comments from Working Group Mtn on 06-02-2011
1 Roof mounted solar on all residential housing types should be allowed with a simple Building Permit…right? Yes 2011-05-19 approved  
2 Solar Panels/Solar Energy Facility (SEF) on rooftop on commercial/industrial should be permitted with a ministerial permit. Yes, all zones 2011-05-19 We agreed that we should not put up any barriers to roof mounted solar energy facilities.  
3 OK to put SEF on an adjacent property to provide power to a house or another meter? Yes, they would need to provide easement or other tool. 2011-05-19 approved  
4 Protecting Ag Land Vs. converting/covering large tracts of farm land to solar power generation.   2011-05-19 Lots of discussion, needs more work.  
5 Are solar energy facilities compatible with certain animals…sheep, cows, etc.?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011  2011-05-30 Do we really need to address this since a property owner may choose to install on property with cattle, but fence it off?  
6 Different land use processes for different scale SEF on Ag land.   To be discussed on 06-02-2011  
6a Tier 1:  For a Building Permit only review (and setbacks) Option #1: Up to 1/2 acre Option #2:  Up to 10 acres To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Tulare:  Tier 1 - Where SEF is designed for on-site consumption, the facility shall be considered an accessory used and permitted by right.
        Tier 1 should include all systems that are designed to service on-site load up to five acres.  Tulare:  Ag process sites that may require up to 2 megs, need up to 10 acres.  A lot of 2 MW needs in the central valley.  On-site uses should be encouraged.  If the SEF is < 20 % of the acreage, ministerial.  row crops vs. grazing lands.  cummulative impact issue question being rasied as well. What are potentially signficant?  
6b Tier 2:  Need an Administrative review/approval Option #1: 1/2 acre - 5 acres  Option #2:  10 - 40 acres To be discussed on 06-02-2011  
        Solar Rights Act issues.  What is the distinction for when the Solar Rights Act ends?  Is it at the on-site use issue.  The size of the property makes a difference…in appearance.  A lot of permits coming in for rural homes for 5-7 acres.
6c Tier 3:  Need a Zoning Administrator review/approval (CEQA) Option #1: 5 - 20 acres       Option #2:  40 - 100 acres To be discussed on 06-02-2011  
6d Tier 4:  Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors review/approval (CEQA) Option #1: 20+ acres         Option #2:  100 + acres To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Tulare:  Tier 2 and 3 - Where SEF is designed for on-site consumption and/or excess generation is for sale, the use shall be subject to a Special Use Permit and Development Agreement
7 Are all Agricultural Lands 'the same', requiring the same level of protection?  How can we categorize the different types of Ag lands in CA? Class 1, Class 2, Prime, Non Prime, etc??? To be discussed on 06-02-2011  
        State farmland mapping is farmland under CEQA.  Prime or Non prime is Williamson Act.  Williamson Act vs. Non Williamson Act
8 What Planning Tools are available to address this issue? Overlays? To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Concept:  Could be a helpful strategy if a county wanted to do it.  Could help with CEQA streamlining.  If it could ensure that lined up with the county's climate action plan.  Could be written to include Wind Energy as well.  Could also be a Renewable Energy Production Zone.  If a project conforms to CEQA Mitigation Measures and other standards, could be reviewed very quickly.
        Support for this concept
9 Property Line Setback strategies:  How far should SEF be from a property line when installed on the ground?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Tier 1 & 2:  Accessory structure setbacks  Tier 3 & 4:  50 ft
        Need to recognize ultimate street widths and concerns for easements and right of ways.  One to property boundary and one for fire truck access.  Concern for setback of SEF to house/building…for adjoining ag useshabitat buffer issues for setbacks.  
10 Height Issues:  what are the concerns?  Review different types of technologies   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Ground Mounted: ????  Roof Mounted:  Should be able to exceed the height of the zone.  Covered parking areas with SEF are Tier 1.
        Objective to keep low and close to the roof for wind abatment…no more than 12 inches from highest point of roof???, angle of panels, allow up to 24 inches above the height of the roof…issues with snow load, is this an aesthetic issue
11 Fencing Issues:  what types of fences are installed and for what types of installations?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 If the solar panels are adjacent to a residence, the solar energy facility shall be fenced and landscaped to blend in with the existing neighborhood.
        Razor wire on top of fences???  Fence code in the National Electric Safety code, makes barb wire optional, height could be up to 7 or 8 ft.  Fence could have a downward extension to prevent digging under the fence.  The opacity of the fence is directly related to its capacity to abate wind/dust flow.  Wind Fabric type of material made of polyproylene...  If you can extend fence to 18" below ground and eliminate burrowing animals.  Keep inside of fence free from animals.  Fish and Game may have issues with keeping wildlife out of the SEF area...  Kit fox issues, Vinyl cl coating on fence quality / carcinogen issues.  Coating will no last that long.  Lg scale solar facillities 2-3,000 acres vs 5-10 acres.
12 Security Issues:  Anything that should be addressed in the Model Ordinance?  Alarms?, etc.?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Do we need to really address this in the Model
        Security from juveniles, theft for keeping kids out of an area.  Alarms, lights, cameras.  Shouldn't have a height requirement.  Cameras for mitigation monitoring of wildlife issues.  Photo electric beams may be used.  
13 Lighting Issues:  What are the issues around lighting a SEF?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 All lights shall be contained on the property, fixtures pointing down on the property with the SEF.
        Lights controlled by sensors.  Not typically lit up all night.  Animals may set off motion detectors.  Downcast lighting to keep the light on the property.
14 Location Issues:  Floating SEF, telephone poles, etc.?  What should the rules be for this?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Floating SEF on a pond contained on a parcel shall be permitted with an Administrative Permit.  
        In Fresno, lots of flood control ponds…flood control ponds and detention basins.
15 Williamson Act Issues:  Can this be addressed at the State Level instead of having every county make an interpretation?  What are the options?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Tulare County:  SEF requires a Use Permit in WA lands and needs a Development Agreement
        Principles of compatibility, if in an Ag Preserve, allowed by statute…electrical facilities included in that  (Tulare allows as a compatible use - includes SEF in this).  In 1994, if under contract, you have to meet principles of compatibility.  PG&E is building a lot of facilities in Kern County.  Prime vs. Non Prime issues.  Prime is probably not compatible.  in SB 618, this may be able to be addressed.  Marginal or impaired land.  If prime, should be non renewal.  Some prime ag land is equally prepared for farming or SEF.  Habitat issues as well.  Dave in Sonoma is in the process at their PC to take draft rules which include on-site to be compatible.  Listed as a compatible use. SB 618 would allow an option in the toolbox.  Each county will determine compatibility.  Integrate solar into working landscapes.
16 If SEF is going to be installed on Ag land, should there be mitigation?  If so, at what ratio?  1:1, 2:1, etc.?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011  
17 Post decommissioning Issues:  What are the requirements?  Bonds, letter of credit, etc.?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Use Yolo County standards
        Yes, use Yolo standards as the first draft.  In Fresno, there is a big example of an abadoned site.
18 Permit Fee Issues:  It would be great if counties could keep the permit fees low.  Since fees are based on time spent by county staff, how can their staff time be limited/reduced to keep fees low?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Tier 1:  $200 - $400                                                                              Tier 2:  $300 - $600                                                                            Tier 3:  $600 - $1,000                                                                        Tier 4:  $1,000 - $2,000                                                                       Permit fees shall not exceed the actual cost of plan check and inspection.  In order to encourage SEF, individual counties may choose to subsidize the fees (possibly with Grant funds or General Fund).
        concerns that fees are too high…since the counties don't get an increase in property taxes, they charge high building permit fees; impact mitigation fee issues; loss of ag land; protection services (law); impact fees issues; WA fees; SB 618; issues; potential fee for process; 
19 Taxes:  There is a disincentive for Counties to promote solar since Photovotaic Panels are exempt from increases to property taxes.  Is there another way to financially incentivize a county to want these facilities in their county?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 It's good public policy to promote SEF.  Estimates are that 40% of a SEF is exempt from property taxes (the PV panels are exempt), but the other 60% of the project is taxable.  Is this adequate?  Could propose the creation of a state subvention program like the Williamson Act...
        Tulare, Board of Equalization Taxation code deals with the assessment, sunsets in 2015, Sec 73 of the Rev and Tax Code; was intended for rooftop solar, was extended that added 'electrical generation facilities to the list of exemptions.  Applies even to leased properties.  A lot of other finacial incentives to counties, job creation; more money flowing in the local economy; no one here from CPUC or Utilities.  Possibly have the CPUC address this issue in the future.
20 Visual Issues:  Neighbors to larger projects are going to be concerned with visual blight.  What can be done to address this?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 What are the 'best practices'?  Lighting, screening, fencing, landscaping?
        Good neighbor…most are neighboring farmers; glare/reflection issues; visual issues are off the table for roof top mounted issues; anti glare coating???; 
21 General Plan Issues:  Do we have any suggested General Plan Policies that should be added to promote the installation of SEF?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 National security, energy indepence, climate protection, job creation, etc.  Counties should adopt Policies to support this.  
        work with cities also on this topic; open space/visual conflicts; Policy focus on designating priority areas - renewable energy transmission initiative (Statewide); Energy Commission website; locational direction…Overlays; Solano has some good examples...ID where you want it to provide an affirmative direction of where you want to encouraged
22 Industrial Lands and Ag Lands have different Issues:  Counties may not want their Industrial ground consumed with SEF.  Other issues?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Don't want SEF to be 'in lieu' of commercial or industrial facilities.  It should be incorporated into the design to include roof mounted, over parking lots, etc.  
        Brownfield issues???  May be a rural Ind/Com designation
23 Inter Tie Connection Line Issues:  How will the SEF be connected to the grid?  What are ideas on how to most effectily accomplish a safe/low impact connection to the grid?  Easements?   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Project description will describe connectivity to the grid.
        Use County public right of way when possible; use private dirt roads…may be the easiest route; possibly having existing lines on these dirt roads; public access to site needs to have pave public roads to the primary SEF.  Should try to site SEF adjacent to existing Grid connection...
24 Generating More Energy Than Needed and Selling It:  Some are concerned with this issue.  Needs to be discussed.   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 This issue is addressed in the four different tiers of SEF.  Concerns about CEQA being triggered?
        In the Public Utility Code, you can only size systems today up to 1 megawatt.  Issues:  Excessive use of land; aesthetics; For residential and commercial, you cannot size a system greater than load.  SB2X will be implemented July 1st.  So Cal Edison is trying to enourage up to 1 megawatt sites (up to 2-3 acres).  If you have 10 acres, you cannot size for greater than load for residential or commercial above the need.  This law is evolving.  Feed-In Tariff.  Ag the end of a cool year, they will have produced more power than they will consume.
25 Over the Fence' Rule Issues:  This needs to be reviewed.   To be discussed on 06-02-2011  
26 Historic Structures Issues:  This needs to be reviewed.   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Concern about impacts on the historic structure.  Might need design review.  SEF roof mounted to be low.
27 Conservation and Scenic Easement Issues:  This needs to be reviewed.   To be discussed on 06-02-2011  
28 State Law Issues:  We need to review various state laws that prempt various actions.   To be discussed on 06-02-2011  
        Everyone will email Tim the list of Laws/Codes that we should all be aware of that are relevent
29 Utility Regulators may impose different rules and land use demands.  We need to coordinate with Utilities and the PUC.   To be discussed on 06-02-2011  
        Tim and Linda will get someone from PUC and Utilities to get them involved
30 Fire Safety Issues:  We need to coordinate with Fire Agencies on various issues.   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 State Fire Marshal's office has developed Draft Guidelines
        Issue was PV on structures.  Came up with guidelines…related to Fire Fighter Safety for dealing with structure fires with PV on the rooftops.  Broad effort to work together with industry.  Permitting issues, coordinate with Building and Fire Depts.  Came up with Draft Guidelines...cities/counties can adopt these locally.  International Association of Fire Officials...adopted it, will come into effect in 2012 International Fire Code.  State Fire Marshal's office will not adopt in CA, but individual cities/counties may adopt locally when they adopt their codes.  Next Code cycle, they will bring a large group together to review what needs to be adopted/modified.  CALBO is invited to participate.  These guidelines only address rooftop design of PV.  Also have concerns/issues of ground mounted issues.  Some of the concerns for ground mounted are size, access provisions, structures attached?, security and ability to enter the secure areas.  LA County Fire - looking for a standardized statewide application/review for roof mounted SEF.  For large ground mounted installations, look at access, fuel modification issues, natural vegetation, guidelines similar to San Diego County, structures on the facility itself, mounted vs. skid mount - protection of these during a fire, San Diego supports LA County and LA City.  Fire is here to help.
31  Airport Land Use Compatibility issues   To be discussed on 06-02-2011 Glare issues?  What is the best practice?
        Fresno, involved with JLUS (Military encroachment issues).  Also concerned with approach/departure issues with SEF in the future.  There are SEF at airports.