Resident & Developer Solar Resources

If you’re thinking about investing in solar panels on the roof of your home or business, or are considering a larger project, you may have a number of questions. Select from the list below and use the + sign to expand the content.

The “Right to Light” is an interesting discussion. No laws at the federal level protect a landowner’s ability to access sunlight or to develop solar energy on their property. In Connecticut, there are not State laws to this effect either. In fact, there may be a number of legal barriers to ensuring your access to light: municipal zoning or forestry regulations that prevent the cutting down of trees, a height ordinance that rooftop panels would violate, or homeowner’s association rules meant to standardize the appearance of homes. To complicate matters, sometimes the obstruction of sunlight comes from structures or trees on a neighbor’s property. Although Connecticut does not guarantee “solar rights” in the traditional sense, we encourage homeowners to work with their neighbors and their local land use office to come up with creative solutions.

  • Federal background: Solar Access Rights | SEIA
  • State background: CT Office of Legislative Research Response
    • Although the report linked above was published in 2007, CT OLR has verified that the information “is still accurate, though we have not done any research into whether other municipalities in the state have enacted zoning provisions that specifically apply to solar access since then.” 

While you don’t need to be an expert in the solar industry to get panels installed, every consumer should know enough information to protect themselves. Online resources on the subject range from a high-level checklists to comprehensive guides. The links below are in order from simplest to most detailed.

Financing and incentives can turn your solar dream into a reality. Navigate the links below to calculate your solar savings, browse federal and state incentives, and learn more about financing best practices.

A list of solar PV installers located in one of NVCOG’s member municipalities can be generated from the Energize CT Contractor Database. Select “Home,” “Business,” or “Town,” depending on your needs. Then select “Solar PV Service.” Click “Submit.” The first column in the list will have an address for the company. There are a number options within the NVCOG region.

You can also get quotes from Energy Sage by entering your zip code.

Project Sunroof leverages Google Maps’ GIS technology to help residents across the U.S. calculate potential savings after installing solar panels. The algorithm is based on a number of factors, including:

  • Roof orientation and size
  • Annual hours of sunlight exposure
  • Tree cover
  • State and federal incentives

All you need to do is enter your address and provide the average cost of your monthly electric bill! Even if you’re unsure about solar, consider making use of this tool and seeing how much you could save. Click below to get started:

Just as access to unobstructed sunlight impacts the siting of solar projects, so does the land use of the subject and surrounding properties. Some land uses are particularly well-suited to solar. Below are resources to guide the development of solar based on the principal land use of the property.

Parking Lots

Vacant & Underutilized Lots

Brownfields

Airport Safety Zones (with FAA approval)

Nonbuilding Structures

If you are considering a solar project on one of the above-mentioned land uses, contact Christine at 203-489-0351 or coneill@nvcogct.gov. We may be able to offer technical assistance or connect you with someone who can.

Getting Started

Are you ready to make the switch to solar? Your first step is to understand how local permitting works for your municipality. Select from the list below and use the + sign to expand the content. Note that the information below applies only to installations less than 1 MW and is for guidance purposes only. We recommend that you always begin by consulting the municipality directly regarding permitting procedures and fees.

Three permits are needed: Zoning, Building, Electrical. The permits can be accessed, completed, and submitted through Ansonia’s “PermitLink” portal here.

For any questions, visit the Land Use Department webpage or call 203-736-5960.

For roof-mounted solar, obtain a “Step 1: Department Approvals” form online or a hard copy from Town Hall. You will then fill out the “Step 2: Building Permit (Electrical).” Both are available here.

For ground-mounted panels, perform the same steps – but in the review process, the need for Zoning or Wetlands approvals may be triggered.

For any questions, visit the Building Department webpage or call 203-729-4216.

For roof-mounted solar, a building permit is required (must be acquired in-person at Bethlehem Town Hall).

For ground-mounted, an Inland Wetlands Commission approval and a Torrington Area Health District consultation are needed. Start by calling the Building Department at 203-266-7510 ext. 4.

All solar permits are applied for online through the Bristol permit portal. Select “Building Permit.”

For any questions, visit the Bristol Building Department webpage or call 860-584-6215.

Before applying for a permit, the first step is to speak with a Zoning Enforcement Officer. They can be reached at 203-271-6670 or in person at the Planning and Development Department. The next step would be to apply for a Zoning Permit.

Derby has merged some of their Building Department functions with Shelton. To speak with an Electrical Inspector who can walk you through the process of obtaining your documents, call 203-924-1555 ext. 1357. The necessary documents will likely include solar plans, HIC, Electrician’s License and Certificate of Liability, an Engineer’s Letters, a six digit number from UI, and finally Building and Electrical applications.

For any questions, call the Derby Building Department at 203-736-1481 or call the Electrical Inspector directly at the number above.

For rooftop solar, Middlebury offers a Solar Permit Application on its Building & Land Use Department webpage that includes a Building and an Electrical Permit.

For ground-mounted solar, begin with a Zoning Permit instead.

For any questions, call 203-577-4162.

For rooftop solar, an Electrical Permit from the Building Department would be required (assuming there are no structural changes to the roof). 

For ground-mounted solar, begin with the Land Use/Planning & Zoning Department to set up the necessary public hearings. Note that ground-mounted solar installations are not allowed on properties with residential dwellings. 

For any questions, please call 203-720-7035.

Oxford has a PV Permitting Process instruction sheet, which outlines what documents are needed and where to submit them.

For any questions, call the Building Department at 203-828-6500.

For residential roof-mounted solar, visit Plymouth’s online permit portal to apply for an electrical permit and building permit. This requires a licensed electrician.

For a commercial roof-mounted, you will need a zoning permit in addition to electrical and building (also available on the portal).

For ground-mounted solar, first call the Land Use Department to determine if a a site plan or special permit approval is needed. Then fill out application for public hearing on the portal. After the approval electrical, building, zoning permits will be needed.

For any questions, please call the Building Department at 860-585-4007 or the Land Use Department at 860-585-4043.

For rooftop residential solar panels, – coming soon.

For any questions, call the Building Department at (203) 758-4461.

For rooftop residential or commercial solar, visit the Seymour Building Department in person or online to obtain a Building Permit (which includes electrical). You will also need to submit two sets of plans for commercial, one set for residential; trade licenses (electrician); and liability insurance.

For ground-mounted solar, fill out the above paperwork and contact the Building Department to determine if a zoning permit is necessary.

For any questions, please contact the Building Department or call 203-888-2511.

For rooftop residential or commercial solar, the landowner would contact a solar company to apply on their behalf. That company would submit a Building Permit and Solar Supplement, along with license and insurance information. 

Ground-mounted solar should begin by contacting the Planning & Zoning Department at (203) 924-1555 ext. 1510 to understand what approvals are needed.

For any questions, contact the Building Department at (203) 924-1555 ext. 1517.

For residential and commercial rooftop and ground-mounted solar, all permitting is online. The permits needed are: Zoning, Building, and Electrical.

For any questions, contact the Building Department at (203) 262-0609 or the Zoning Department at (203) 262-0665.

For residential or commercial rooftop solar projects, fill out and submit a Building Permit. They will also need the contractor license and insurance, and the site plans and specs. 

For ground-mount projects 15kW or less, a Zoning Permit is needed. Larger scale ground-mounted solar arrays will likely require Special Permit – begin by calling the Planning & Zoning Department.

For any questions, call the Thomaston Building Department at (860) 283-2857 or Planning & Zoning Department at (860) 283-8411.

For residential and commercial rooftop solar, you need a Mechanical/Electrical Permit and, if structural upgrades are required, also a Building Permit. Also needed is a copy of contractor license and insurance, along with information about the panels.

For ground-mounted solar, start with all building permits above. Additionally, you would need a Zoning Permit.

For any questions, contact the Department of Inspections at (203) 574-6832.

For roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar, start with the Zoning Department. Fill out a Zoning Permit, available online, and turn it in at Town Hall; note that large ground-mounted projects may require a Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing.

Next, the Building Department will require a Building Application, engineered specs, engineered letter regarding the roof’s ability to support the panels, estimated cost, licenses, and insurance information. All documents can be turned in at Town Hall.

Ground-mounted solar may require a Health Department review to ensure there are no structures over septic. 

For any questions, contact the Building Department at 860.945.5264.

Note: Watertown may be switching to online permitting soon. 

For residential or commercial rooftop, you would need a Building Permit and an Electrical Permit. For assistance filling out the permits, see this application checklist.

For a ground-mounted installation, check sections 25.4.13 and 25.7.5 of the Wolcott Zoning Regulations for setbacks and other requirements. If you are eligible, submit a Zoning Permit.

For any questions, contact the Building Department at (203) 879-8100.

For a residential rooftop or ground-mounted solar installation (as an accessory use), you’ll need to fill out a Zoning Permit using Woodbury’s online permitting software.

Commercial solar installations would require a Special Permit and go before for the Zoning Commission. Contact the Town Planner at 203-263-3467 to get started.

For questions about additional permits or inspections, contact the Building Department at 203-263-5717.