Green energy has become increasingly popular. More businesses than ever before want to offset their energy consumption to appeal to younger consumers. Advances in solar energy production have made it an attractive concept for business owners, investors and homeowners.
Many individual property owners even hope to generate their own electricity to reduce costs or make a little money by selling the electricity that they generate back to the local utility company. There is opportunity to be had in helping businesses green their energy use or even in creating large-scale solar energy facilities.
Whether you want to start a massive solar operation to produce and sell electricity or sell services to homeowners who want to install solar panels on their houses, you will likely need to secure approval for each project. Who has a say in whether you can follow through with a plan to generate renewable energy?
Local utility companies
Generally, the company primarily using and maintaining the local electrical infrastructure will have to cooperate with or approve major solar projects. Even small-scale projects operated by individual homeowners usually require utility approval and inspection. The larger your operations will be, the more important it will be to cooperate with any local companies that provide electrical service and maintain the power lines.
Nearby property owners or homeowners associations
In some communities, neighbors can contest large projects that might affect their property values or how they use their land. Farmers might worry about how the installation of more power lines to transport solar energy generated at your facility might impact their fields, for example.
A homeowners association (HOA) might have rules that limit the size or placement of solar panels on houses within their jurisdiction. Limiting what can be seen from the road or from adjacent properties is common. You will have to check with permitting rules and HOA rules before beginning work on any projects.
Local inspection and zoning authorities
Depending on state and local ordinances, even individual homeowners will usually require building permits for the installation of a solar system on their home. Larger-scale operations may require zoning approval.
The exact requirements necessary to bring a renewable energy project to fruition depend on the location of the business and many other factors. Recognizing that bureaucracy often plays a role in renewable energy projects can help you realistically plan a timeline and budget for the project.