[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Eagleswood 2-22-2021 by Ord. No. 2021-01. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Chapter 218, entitled "Solar Energy Systems," is hereby created and adopted.
Solar energy systems shall be permitted as a rooftop installation in all zones. The solar energy system shall not exceed a height of 12 inches from the rooftop, except on flat roofs where one end of the solar collection device used in the solar energy system may be separated from the roofline by up to five feet. In no event shall the placement of a solar energy system on a rooftop result in a total height, including building and solar energy system, than what is permitted for the principal building in the zoning district where it is located. Solar energy systems that include an elevated panel or plate, or a canopy or array thereof, and are installed over the ground, shall be a permitted use in all commercial and limited business zones and a permitted accessory use in all zone districts which allow single-family detached residential dwellings. Freestanding or ground-mounted solar energy systems shall be considered a structure and shall be subject to the regulations of the zone for such, together with all other applicable building codes and ordinances. A solar energy system that is installed over the ground shall be subject to the following requirements:
Lot size. Solar energy systems that are installed over the ground are permitted on tax parcels, or tracts of land that are under common ownership, that have a total area of at least 20 acres in the commercial and the limited business zones and of at least 20,000 square feet for single-family detached residences as accessory uses.
Setbacks. Solar energy systems that are installed over the ground shall be set back in accordance with the prevailing zone district standard for accessory buildings. The setback for commercial zones shall be the prevailing zone district standard for accessory buildings or 25 feet, whichever is greater.
Placement. Solar energy systems that are installed over the ground shall not be located within a front yard area.
Height. Solar energy systems that are installed over the ground shall not exceed a height of 15 feet in the commercial and the limited business zones and six feet for accessory structures on single-family detached residential lots.
Cover. Solar panels shall not be considered to be part of a site's impervious cover or surface. Solar panels shall be excluded from all impervious cover or surface calculations.
Appearance. The design of solar energy systems that are installed over the ground shall, to the extent reasonably possible, use materials, colors, textures, screening and landscaping that will blend the facility into the natural setting and existing environment.
Ground-mounted solar energy systems containing 800 square feet or less of total solar panel surface in residential zones shall require a zoning permit and shall not be counted in the calculation of maximum impervious coverage as regulated within the Land Use Ordinance.
Ground-mounted solar energy systems containing greater than 800 square feet of total solar panel area in residential zones shall require minor site plan approval from the Land Use Board, prior to obtaining a zoning permit, and are subject to the following standard:
Systems shall not be counted in the calculation of maximum impervious coverage as regulated within the Land Use Ordinance. Nevertheless, design of the system shall comply with all stormwater, grading, and soil disturbance regulations of the Land Use Ordinance.
Ground-mounted solar systems shall be screened from public rights-of-way and adjacent properties via fencing or landscaping.
The solar energy system shall not be sized to generate more power than that required for the principal structure on the same tax parcel as measured on an annual basis. All solar energy systems shall be grid tied.
Cadmium telluride prohibited. Devices including cadmium telluride are prohibited due to the highly carcinogenic nature of cadmium and the possible detrimental effects on children, wildlife, water supplies, and the environment.
Glare. Solar energy systems shall be located so that any glare is directed away from adjacent properties, businesses, residences, or roadways. The applicant shall submit a certification from an engineer or manufacturer that the design will not cause a reflection nuisance to adjacent property owners or flow of traffic on nearby roadways.
Access. All ground-mounted and exterior electrical and control equipment shall be labeled and secured to prevent unauthorized access. At a minimum, security shall include locking equipment cabinets and perimeter fencing.
Trees. In the event the applicant is required to remove trees, then the applicant shall comply with § 135-17 of the Eagleswood Township Municipal Code entitled "Trees." An applicant shall locate solar energy systems so that tree removal is not required to the extent practical.
Signs. There shall be no signs that are visible from any public road posted on a solar energy system or any associated building, except for the manufacturer's or installer's identification, appropriate warning signs, or owner identification.
Noise. Solar energy systems shall operate at no greater than 40 decibels, as measured at the boundary of the tax parcel, or tract of land under common ownership, on which it is located.
Utility notification and interconnection. Solar energy systems that connect to the electric utility shall comply with New Jersey's Net Metering and Interconnection Standards for Class I Renewable Energy Systems at N.J.A.C. 14:4-9.
Electrical and power lines. All electrical and power lines shall be located underground.
Advertisements. No portion of the solar energy system shall contain or be used to display advertising.