[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Franklin Lakes 9-20-2012 by Ord. No. 1552; amended in its entirety 8-18-2015 by Ord. No. 1639. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter may be referred to as the "Solar Energy System Ordinance."
This chapter is adopted pursuant to the Borough of Franklin Lakes authority.
The purpose is to ensure a solar energy system as accessory use for the principal power use and will be to provide power for the principal use of the property whereon said system is to be located and shall not be for the generation of power for commercial purposes, although this provision shall not be interpreted to prohibit the sale of excess power generated from time to time from a solar energy system designed to meet the energy needs of the principal use. For the purposes of this subsection, the sale of excess power shall be limited so that in no event an energy system is generating more energy for sale than what is otherwise necessary to power the principal use on the property.
Solar energy systems shall only be permitted as an accessory use on the same lot as the principal use. All energy systems require approval by the Construction Official prior to installation. Applications for an energy system shall include information demonstrating compliance with the provisions of this subsection. In the event that the Construction Official does not believe the provisions of this subsection will be satisfied, an applicant may request a variance.
Applicability of section. This section shall apply to systems intended for the provision of the electrical or mechanical power needs of the owner/operator of the system; also, such a system shall be for one main building and its accessory buildings and uses only.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALTERNATIVE POWER SOURCE
- Equipment that converts energy from the solar energy system into electricity. This term includes all associated mechanical and electrical conversion components necessary to generate, store and/or transfer energy.
- The individual or entity that intends to own and operate the solar energy system in accordance with this chapter.
- SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM
- A solar system and all associated equipment, including any base, foundation, structural support, wire, batteries or other components necessary to fully utilize the solar system.
[Amended 11-24-2015 by Ord. No. 1646]
Solar energy systems.
Solar panels shall be permitted as a rooftop installation in any zoning district. The solar panels shall not exceed a height of eight inches from the rooftop in a residential installation. In any flat roof installation, the rooftop installation panels shall not exceed three feet in height from the rooftop. In no event shall the placement of the solar panels result in a total height including building and panels greater than what is permitted in the zoning district which they are located for the principal building.
Solar panels shall also be permitted as ground arrays in nonresidential zones but shall not be permitted in residential zones in accordance with the following:
All ground arrays shall not be located closer than 50 feet to the nearest residential property zone line, and ground arrays shall not be closer than 25 feet to any property.
Except as provided hereinbelow for solar parking canopies in the HOB-RL District, ground arrays shall not be permitted in a front or side yard.
Except as provided hereinbelow for solar parking canopies in the HOB-RL District, ground arrays shall not exceed seven feet in height and shall not be used for any other purpose below the ground array. Ground arrays shall not exceed 50% of the principal building floor area.
Ground arrays shall be located so that any glare is directed away from an adjoining property.
Ground arrays shall be a minimum of 15 feet from any building or structure.
Solar parking canopies (also known as solar carports) shall be permitted in parking lots in the HOB-RL District, provided such solar parking canopies shall not exceed 20 feet in height.
Solar energy systems shall not be used for displaying any advertising except for reasonable identification of the manufacturer or operator of the system. In no case shall any identification be visible from a property line.
All applications for a solar energy system shall conform to the provisions of § 300-124 buffer and planting requirements with respect to tree removal, replacement, and protection of no-disturbance zones. Any trees and/or shrubs to be removed to accommodate the installation of a solar energy system shall be accompanied by a plan demonstrating the need to remove the trees and replacement of the trees in accordance with the provisions of the Code. If trees are requested to be removed contrary to § 300-124, the applicant shall provide to the Construction Official a shade analysis, certified by a qualified professional. An applicant shall locate a solar energy system so that tree removal is not required to the extent practical.
The design of a solar energy system shall, to the extent reasonably possible, use material, colors, textures, screening and landscaping that will blend into the natural setting and existing environment.
The design of the solar panel system shall conform to all applicable industry standards including the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code, the National Electric Code and the Borough of Franklin Lakes Building Code and Zoning Regulations. The applicant shall submit certificates of design compliance obtained by the equipment manufacturer from a certified organization and any such design shall be certified by an engineer registered in the State of New Jersey. The manufacturer specifications shall be submitted as part of the application.
Roof-mounted solar panels shall not be permitted on the front roof of a structure which faces a street. This requirement shall also apply to the side street of a corner lot. Solar panels shall be located on a rear- or side-facing roof, as viewed from any adjacent street. Roof-mounted solar panels shall be permitted on accessory structures located in the rear yard of a residential property, provided such installation complies with all other requirements of this chapter.
Commercial rooftop arrays shall be no greater than 150 feet by 150 feet in distance in either axis.
Utility notifications and interconnection. Solar energy systems that connect to the electric utility shall comply with the New Jersey's Net Metering and Interconnection Standards for Class I Renewable Energy Systems at N.J.A.C. 14:4-9.
Standards for and regulations of solar energy systems. The structural design shall be signed and sealed by a professional engineer, registered in the State of New Jersey, certifying that the structural design complies with all of the standards set forth for safety and stability in all applicable codes then in effect in the State of New Jersey and all sections referred to hereinabove.
All electric lines and utility wires shall be buried underground in accordance with NEC and the Uniform Construction Code requirements.
In any nonresidential zones, any mechanical equipment associated with and necessary for operation, including a building for batteries and storage cells, shall be enclosed with a six-foot-high fence.
In nonresidential zones, when a building is necessary for storage cells or related mechanical equipment, the building may not exceed 140 square feet in area nor eight feet in height.
In residential zones, all related mechanical equipment shall be located within the residence.
Permit. A permit shall be required and shall be issued by the Construction Official for the installation of a solar energy system.
Documents: The permit application shall be accompanied by a plot plan which includes the following:
Property lines and physical dimensions of the property;
Location, dimensions, and types of existing major structures on the property;
Locations, dimension, and type of the proposed energy system;
The right-of-way of any public road that is contiguous with the property; and
Any overhead utility lines.
Fees. The application for a zoning permit for solar energy system must be accompanied by the fee required.
An owner shall submit an application to the Construction Official for a permit for the installation of a solar energy system, whether the same is residential or nonresidential.
In the event that the Construction Official denies the application for the construction and erection of solar energy panels, the Construction Official shall provide a written denial to the applicant with the reasons therefor.
Existing alternative power sources which have been approved and are in operation as of the date of the passage of this chapter, and are not in conformance of the terms and conditions of this chapter, may continue operation; however, in the event that the same are upgraded for any reason whatsoever, except for ordinary and/or normal maintenance requirements, they shall comply with this chapter in all respects.
Fees shall be as required by Chapter 220, Construction Codes, Uniform.
It is unlawful for any person to construct, install, or operate a solar energy system that is not in compliance with this chapter.
Solar energy systems installed prior to the adoption of this chapter are exempt from the requirements of this chapter, except for the provisions regarding abandonment.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Construction Official or other official as designated by the Mayor and Council.
The Construction Official or Electrical Inspector may enter any property for which a permit has been issued under this chapter to conduct an inspection to determine whether the conditions stated in the permit have been met.
The Construction Official may issue orders to abate any violation of this chapter.
The Construction Official may issue a citation for any violation of this chapter.
[Amended 12-15-2015 by Ord. No. 1652]
Except as may be otherwise provided for violations of the Uniform Construction Code, any person who fails to comply with any provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a fine by the Municipal Court of the Borough of Franklin Lakes in the sum of $500.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the Borough of Franklin Lakes from using any other lawful means to enforce this chapter.