Generating energy from renewable resources is becoming increasingly important and needs to be fully considered with the rise in conventional energy prices and population growth. Furthermore, changes have been made to the County’s Land Use Bylaw to make it as efficient as possible to install renewable and alternate energy systems.
Solar Collector means a device or combination of devices used to collect solar energy. The solar energy is absorbed and then converted into thermal or electrical energy. The different types of solar collector systems can be mounted to the roof, wall, or ground.
Solar Farm means a large number of solar collectors set up to collect solar energy with a total combined area of 0.40 ha (1.0 ac) or more. These are stand-alone assemblies mounted on racking on the ground.
Renewable and Alternate Energy Facility means a building or development that generates energy using natural or renewable resources (e.g. wind, geothermal, bio-fuels) or generates energy using a process that reduces the amount of harmful emissions to the environment. Examples include district heating and cogeneration.
No development permit is required for solar collectors that are installed primarily for private or on-site use (although contribution to the grid may be possible). These include panels mounted to the roof, wall, and ground (with a floor area of 10m2 or less). For all other uses, a permit is required. Any development regulations (e.g. setbacks) will apply to all land uses regardless of permit requirements.
Approvals may be required from a provincial or federal agency prior to the operation of any renewable energy system. These may include approvals from Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), Safety Codes (e.g. electrical permit) and your utility service provider (e.g. Fortis Alberta).
In addition, under Section 619 of the Municipal Government Act, any license, permit, or approval granted by AUC will prevail over any development decisions made by the County. Moreover, a permit issued by the County is only for compliance with the use, size and setback regulations. The actual design and operation of these systems are regulated provincially, and beyond the control of the County.