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Solar Energy

The following webinars highlight the steps needed to plan and zone for utility-scale solar energy in municipalities throughout Michigan.

EGLE Contact:

University of Michigan Contact:
Sarah Mills, Senior Project Manager

Solar Planning Related Webinars

Introduction to Planning & Zoning for Wind and Solar

[Originally aired March 30, 2021] From wide-open rural areas to compact cities, Michigan is beginning the transition to alternative energy. To prepare for the development of wind and solar in your community, Dr. Sarah Mills and Hannah Smith from the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute discuss the positives and negatives, and why planners - especially those in rural communities - need to start planning and zoning for renewable energy now. This webinar is the first in a three part mini-series geared towards helping local Michigan governments on determining whether, how, and where clean energy fits within their community.

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Planning & Zoning for Utility-Scale Solar

[Originally aired April 27, 2021] Have you heard of solar farms in other communities, but don’t know if your community would be interested or a good fit? Perhaps you have already started zoning and want to share your experiences? In this session, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about planning and zoning for utility-scale solar energy (projects spanning at least 20 acres) and provide practical tools to help accomplish your local government's goals. 

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Using EZMT Online Mapping to Plan for Clean Energy

[Originally aired January 21, 2021] Developed by the US Department of Energy, the Energy Zones Mapping Tool (EZMT) is a publicly available online resource which provides data, models, and reports for nine different energy categories (i.e. wind, solar, coal). It is a one-stop-shop for understanding a community’s existing energy infrastructure and its potential for future clean energy infrastructure. Users can draw boundaries, overlay land characteristics, plot electrical substations and transmission lines, and model potential power generation. This session provides an overview and live demonstration of the tool (Demo link in Resources below), focusing on features of greatest interest to land use planners, with Jim Kuiper of the Argonne National Laboratory. 

View/Download Slides (PDF)


Solar energy planning and zoning resources - curated repository of solar planning and zoning templates

EGLE Michigan Zoning Database 

Case studies


March-April 2020 issue of Planning & Zoning News - E-mail for a copy

Utility-Scale Solar Technology Trends from Berkeley Lab

EGLE Community Energy Management Incentive Program

EZMT How-To Guide

These webinars are some of the many resources curated by the Catalyst Communities: Energy program, a comprehensive initiative providing education, training, planning and technical resources to local public officials to enable a just transition to decarbonization.