USC plans hearing on solar panels

Published Jan 9, 2013 at 12:48 pm (Updated Jan 9, 2013 at 12:48 pm)

Upper St. Clair Township commissioners will hold a public hearing on March 4 regarding an amendment to township zoning ordinance providing for solar panels.

Scott Brilhart, director of community development, said the township participated in a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy called SunShot Rooftop Solar Challenge. He said PennFuture applied for the federal grant.

About two dozen municipalities, most from Allegheny County, worked together to develop model solar zoning ordinances for municipalities.

According to a Jan. 4 memo from Brilhart to Township Manager Matthew Serakowski, “The proposed amendment was drafted using the model zoning ordinance that developed out of this process.”

“The amendment will add definitions for solar photovoltaic systems and incorporate new sections to permit certain solar photovoltaic systems as accessory uses in any zoning district,” Brilhart wrote.

The proposed ordinance change lists three goals.

One goal is to “provide property owners and business owners/operators with flexibility in satisfying their on-site energy needs.”

Another stated goal is to “reduce overall energy demands within the township and to promote energy efficiency.

The third goal listed is to “integrate alternative energy systems seamlessly into the township’s neighborhoods and landscapes without diminishing quality of life in the neighborhoods.”

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