Township of Upper Uwchlan, PA
Chester County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Upper Uwchlan 11-19-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-03; amended in its entirety 12-16-2019 by Ord. No. 2019-06. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 71.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 152.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 162.
Water — See Ch. 183.
Zoning — See Ch. 200.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
COMMUNITY NET METERING
The net metering credits from an alternative energy system or systems are distributed among two or more electric meters on different lots.
INDIVIDUAL NET METERING
When the property upon which an alternative energy system or systems is installed also receives electrical power supplied by a utility company, excess electrical power generated and not presently needed for on-site use may be used by the utility company and credited to the property owner.
VIRTUAL NET METERING
The net metering credits from an alternative energy system or systems are derived from a different location or lot from the meter or meters being credited.
Accessory structures and systems that provide alternative energy sources ("systems") shall be permitted, but only as follows:
A. 
Applications for alternative energy system permits shall include information demonstrating compliance with the provisions in this chapter.
B. 
Alternative energy systems generating less than 100 watts equivalent power, or less than four square feet in size, in aggregate, and not connected to the commercial power system, are exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
Alternative energy systems that solely provide temporary backup or emergency power in the event of a utility power outage are exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
Solar energy systems, wind energy systems and geothermal energy systems shall be an allowed accessory use in all districts, except where specifically prohibited.
A. 
Solar and wind energy systems are specifically prohibited in:
(1) 
All areas designated as public open space, whether general public or homeowners' association, or as specified in the Comprehensive Plan.
(2) 
Wastewater reclamation areas.
(3) 
Greenways, as designated in the Comprehensive Plan.
(4) 
Riparian buffer areas.
B. 
Wind energy systems are specifically prohibited in:
(1) 
C-1 Village District, designated historical districts, and executed overlay areas.
(2) 
Wind energy systems shall be allowed in Commercial, Limited Industrial, R-1, R-2, R-3 and R-4 Districts as an accessory use following conditional use approval and subject to the criteria in § 77-7, Wind energy systems, of this chapter.
C. 
Geothermal systems are specifically prohibited in:
(1) 
C-1 Village District, designated historical districts, and executed overlay areas.
A. 
All systems including modifications to existing systems must obtain permits under the Township Building Code and Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code[1] in effect at the time of application and construction.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 34 Pa. Code, Chapters 401 through 405.
B. 
The design of the alternative energy system shall conform to applicable industry standards, including those of the American National Standards Institute, and shall have certificates of design compliance obtained by the equipment manufacturers from Underwriters Laboratories.
C. 
All electrical components of the system shall conform to relevant and applicable local, state and national codes, and relevant and applicable international standards, referenced in the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See 34 Pa. Code, Chapters 401 through 405.
A. 
Alternative energy systems shall provide power for the principal use on the property whereon the system is located and limited by design to 125% of the historical peak power usage of the property, or 50 kWe, whichever is less. Alternative energy systems shall not be for the principal use of generation of power for commercial purposes.
B. 
Individual net metering (interconnection with utility grid).
(1) 
The owner of the alternative energy system shall provide the Township with written confirmation that the utility has been informed of the intent to install an interconnected electrical generation system and approves of such connection.
(2) 
Periodic inspections of interconnections may be performed by the Township or by the utility after providing adequate written notice to the property owner and owner of the system if different from the property owner. The Township shall provide a copy of the inspection report to the property owner upon receipt. If the inspection is not performed by the Township, the report shall be provided to the Township within 30 days of the inspection.
(3) 
The alternative energy system shall have an automatic cutoff from the utility interconnection in the event of utility power outage.
(4) 
The alternative energy system shall have manual cutoff provisions accessible by emergency responders.
C. 
Alternative energy systems for community net metering and virtual net metering shall be prohibited.
D. 
Systems may be installed in the side yard or rear yard on the property as defined in the Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 200 of the Upper Uwchlan Code.
E. 
Systems shall not be artificially lighted, except to the extent required by the Federal Aviation Administration or other applicable authority that regulates air safety.
F. 
Systems shall not display advertising, except for reasonable identification of the system manufacturer or owner.
G. 
On-site transmission and power lines between the system and point of use, to the maximum extent practicable, shall be placed underground, or suitably armored.
H. 
All ground-mounted or ground-accessible electrical and control equipment shall be labeled and secured to prevent unauthorized access.
I. 
Any substantial upgrade, modification or structural change that increases the size or relocates an existing system must comply with this chapter.
J. 
All mechanical equipment and components (appurtenances) associated with and necessary for the safe operation of the alternative energy system shall comply with the setbacks for the zoning district in which the system is installed.
A. 
Solar access easements. Solar energy systems shall be located to ensure adequate solar access without reliance on contiguous or adjacent properties.
(1) 
Where applicant desires to ensure that solar access to a solar energy system shall not be obstructed over time by permissible uses or activities on any contiguous or adjacent properties (i.e., by planting or growth of vegetation, new construction, etc.), it shall be the responsibility of the property owner and system owner to obtain appropriate solar access easements from the neighboring property owners and to notify the Township upon the recording of any such easement.
(2) 
All solar access easements shall be recorded in the office of the Chester County Recorder of Deeds prior to application of permits.
B. 
Systems shall use reduced or antiglare coatings.
C. 
Glare from solar arrays shall not impinge on any road or public motorway, or otherwise create a nuisance situation. If glare creates a safety hazard or a nuisance situation, the Township may at its discretion require the system owner or the property owner to take appropriate mitigation measures at their own expense or to require the removal of the system or portion thereof generating the hazard or nuisance.
D. 
Rooftop solar energy systems.
(1) 
Rooftop arrays shall not be higher than the peak of the roof, or higher than 15 inches above the roof surface at any point.
E. 
Ground-mounted systems.
(1) 
The maximum height of a ground-mounted solar array shall be 15 feet to its highest point, and all portions of the solar array shall be within the side and rear yard building setbacks applicable to accessory structures but no less than 15 feet from the property line.
(2) 
The area of the array shall be calculated and added to the maximum building area coverage that is permitted on the subject property.
(3) 
Adequate drainage and infiltration of rainwater shall be provided for, to eliminate additional runoff from the property.
(4) 
Ground-mounted assemblies must be screened in accordance with § 200-77 of the Township Zoning Ordinance, but not to an extent which precludes adequate and efficient operations.
(5) 
Access to the ground-mounted system shall be controlled in accordance with § 200-88, Fences and walls.
(6) 
Solar arrays shall not exceed 20% coverage on otherwise unoccupied property area.
A. 
There shall be only one wind energy system per lot.
B. 
Maximum height of the wind energy system shall be the same as the maximum height permitted by right in the zoning district where the system is located and shall be measured with the blade in maximum vertical position from the tip of the blade to the ground.
C. 
All wind energy systems shall be mounted on a single pole system with no guide wires or other supports except its foundation.
D. 
The wind energy system shall not be climbable up to 15 feet above ground surface.
E. 
All wind energy systems shall be designed and installed to meet maximum wind speeds of Category 1 hurricanes.
F. 
The wind energy systems shall be placed within the side and rear yard setbacks as applicable to accessory structures or at least a distance of 1 1/2 times its height away from the property lines and any occupied structure, whichever is greater.
G. 
Wind energy systems shall be set back from the nearest occupied building located on an adjacent landowner's property a distance of not less than three times the height, as measured from the center of the wind turbine base to the nearest point on the foundation of the occupied building.
H. 
All wind energy systems shall be set back from the nearest public road a distance of not less than 1 1/2 times the height, as measured from the right-of-way line of the nearest public road to the center of the wind energy system base.
I. 
No windmill blade in any position shall be closer than 12 feet to the ground.
J. 
Sound levels generated by the wind energy system shall comply with sound level limits specified in the Code of Upper Uwchlan Township, § 200-82, at the property line. Methods for measuring and reporting acoustic emissions from the wind energy system shall be equal to or exceed the minimum standards for precision described in "AWEA Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard (AWEA Standard 9.1 - 2009) The American Wind Energy Association."
K. 
All wind energy systems shall be equipped with a redundant braking system. This includes both aerodynamic over-speed controls (including variable pitch, tip, and other similar systems) and mechanical brakes. Mechanical brakes shall be operated in a fail-safe mode. Stall regulation shall not be considered a sufficient braking system for over-speed protection.
L. 
The wind energy system owner shall make reasonable efforts to minimize shadow flicker to any occupied building on an adjacent landowner's property.
M. 
Wind energy systems shall have a maximum nameplate capacity of 20 kilowatts.
A. 
All geothermal installations shall be in accordance with the Township Stormwater Ordinance provisions.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 152, Stormwater Management.
B. 
Geothermal systems shall conform to the following additional standards: International Ground Surface Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA), Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) and the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM).
C. 
Geothermal systems shall be closed-loop systems.
D. 
Geothermal systems shall utilize fluids conforming to the standards established by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. A permanent sign must be attached to the system specifying that only approved heat transfer fluids may be used.
E. 
In-ground bed/tank systems require a Township grading permit.
F. 
All liquid slurry products of well drilling shall be properly drained so any water leaving the site or entering the Township stormwater system, waterway or wetlands will be absent of solids/particulates.
G. 
No waste or overflow from the system shall be permitted to be discharged to the Township sanitary sewer system.
H. 
No geothermal system shall degrade the quality or performance of well or septic systems or water infiltration areas.
A. 
The alternative energy system owner shall, at its sole expense, complete decommissioning of the system within 12 months after the end of the useful life of the system, or after 12 months of nonuse, or as directed by the Township in writing for violations of this chapter after at least 30 days' notice and an opportunity to cure has been provided. The system will presume to be at the end of its useful life, or nonuse, if no electricity, heat or cooling is generated for a continuous period of 12 months.
(1) 
Decommissioning of a geothermal system shall include purging the system of the working fluid and disposing of the fluid in accordance with guidelines issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
(2) 
The geothermal in-ground fluid system and boreholes shall be backfilled with bentonite clay or equivalent material.
B. 
Decommissioning shall include removal of equipment, buildings, cabling, electrical components, roads, foundations to a depth of 36 inches, and any other associated facilities, including restoration of primary and accessory structures utilized by the alternative energy systems to safe and usable condition.
C. 
Disturbed earth shall be graded and reseeded, unless the landowner requests, in writing, that the access roads or other land surface areas not be restored.
D. 
If the system owner fails to complete decommissioning within the periods prescribed above, Upper Uwchlan Township may, at its discretion and with notice provided to the owner, take such measures as necessary to complete decommissioning and receive compensation, or place a lien upon the property, of costs for the decommissioning from the system owner.