- Getting Started with Solar
- Policies and Processes
- Solar Rights
- Solar Pros and Cons
- Local Solar Projects
- More Useful Solar Information
Welcome to the City of Laramie's Solar Resource webpage
In an effort to reduce barriers to solar installation, reduce community-wide carbon emissions, improve community resilience through energy system diversification, and promote Laramie as a solar community, the City of Laramie has developed this site to assist in commercial and residential solar development. This webpage contains a collection of solar information and resources for the community in order to facilitate interested party's understanding of the impact of city policy and regulation on the installation process. Our community's solar goals can be found in Resolution Number: 2021-62. For more information about the basics of solar energy, your solar options, and questions to ask solar professionals, read the Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power and visit the Department of Energy's Homeowner's Guide to Going Solar.
In 2021 the City, in collaboration with SolSmart, reevaluated its development code, permitting process, and solar outreach efforts. Through this process the City was awarded the designation of a SolSmart Silver community. This designation continues to affirm City staff and elected officials dedication to a more ecologically friendly community.
Planning and Zoning
To improve access to solar, the City has permitted solar on all residential and non-residential zoning districts as an accessory use and in some nonresidential areas for primary use. To determine your property's solar eligibility, please determine your property's zoning district on our zoning map and look at the Table of Allowed Use within the Unified Development Code to determine permitted uses. All development must follow height and setback requirements outlined in section 15.14.030.A. of the Unified Development Code. For the protection of the use of solar collectors, review the Solar Rights section.
Permitting and Building
In order to install residential or commercial solar units or energy storage system, appropriate building and/or electrical permits must be applied for and approved by the City's Code Administration Department. Completed Permits must include:
- Building and/or Electrical Permit application form
- Site Plans (existing and proposed)
- Structural Plans*
- One-line electrical drawing
- with all equipment identified
- detailed specifications for all proposed equipment identified
- Copies of manufacturer's installation manuals
- Verification of compatibility with utility power and household loads
- Signed copy of a net metering agreement
- All work within city limits must be performed by a city of Laramie licensed contractor
- Payment of applicable plan review and building fees
Please allow enough time for a 2-3 weeks plan review. The Code Administration Division will contact you once your plans have been approved. For further detail and clarification of required documents, please review Informational Bulletin #23 and use the checklist to ensure all documents are included for submission.
A final inspection must be scheduled before equipment is energized. This inspection will review all structural systems, equipment attachments, electrical code compliance, general compliance with approved plans, and other ordinances and regulations according to unit design and included components. Following written approval from the Code Administration, energization of solar unit(s) will be permitted.
All inspections must be scheduled with Code Administration at 307-721-5271 or firstname.lastname@example.org
*Structural plans are generally prepared by a Wyoming registered professional engineer
With the exception of properties located within the Downtown Commercial Zoning District, all property owners can protect their use of proposed and constructed solar collectors by applying for a solar access permits. As per Wyoming Statute 34-22-102-a-ii, a
'solar right' is a property's right to an unobstructed line-of-sight path from a solar collector to the sun which permits radiation from the sun to impinge directly on the solar collector. These rights ensure usage and access to solar collector units between the hours of 9:00 am and 3:00 PM. The priority of new construction with regard to interference in solar rights shall vest as of the date of application for a building permit. For greater information regarding the City's and State's solar rights regulations, review section 15.14.030.A.2 of the City of Laramie Unified Development Code and Wyoming State Statute 34-22-101.
A complete understanding of the pros and cons of solar energy in the "Gem City of the Plains" is a great place to start understanding the feasibility of solar on your property. For a more complete understanding of the specific benefits and downfalls for your property, please discuss them with a licensed contractor.
- Energy Independence and Resiliency - Solar unit installation offers homeowners the ability to create their own energy for their property. While unit size and design will vary according to individual needs, land availability, and cost restrictions, solar installation can reduce the cost of monthly utility bills and even provide energy in case of a disruption of energy services.
- Clean Energy Source - Solar units transform abundant radiation from the sun into either thermal or photovoltaic energy. This energy is cheap, abundant, and produces no carbon emissions, reducing the property owners' greenhouse gas emissions.
- Lots of Sun - Laramie is above the national average for sunny days which greatly increases the efficiency of a solar unit. Additionally, due to a very small amount of fog, haze, and smoke, the intensity of sunshine is usually high.
- Get Paid - Surplus energy from a solar system can be reintroduced to the energy system allowing other users to use the energy that your system has produced. Utility companies pay owners for the use of this surplus energy.*
- Upfront costs - While solar energy is often cheaper in the long run it is not free. The majority of costs are frontloaded on customers who will need to pay for equipment, contractors, and city permits.
- Wind, Snow, and Location - Wind and snow loads affect the angle at which a unit can be placed. In order for optimum solar generation, units need to meet the angle of the latitude of an area; For Laramie, that means 41o and south-facing. Due to the effect of these loads that angle may need to be reduced, decreasing the efficiency of the units.
*Please pay attention to local and state net-metering regulations to determine any restrictions.
The Laramie City Council passed Resolution 2020-14 establishing the intent of the governing body to immediately reduce carbon emission from municipal government operations and pursue a net-zero, carbon-neutral future for the City of Laramie. To see the full ordinance please click here.
Laramie Fire Station 3 Solar Array and EV Car Charging Station Project
Laramie Fire Station 3 will soon generate its own clean, renewable power thanks to a funding award from Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program participants. The funding will support the installation of a 25kW solar array and an electric vehicle charging station in west Laramie. The City of Laramie is committed to the reduction of carbon emissions from municipal operations through Resolution 2020-14.
The award of $ $39,465 will cover nearly half of the installation cost of the solar array and charging station.
The City of Laramie joins more than 190 organizations across Rocky Mountain Power’s service area that, since 2006, have received awards for community-based renewable projects, including solar, wind, geothermal and other forms of renewable energy. This project is one of a dozen selected this year through a competitive-evaluation process.
“We are thrilled that we were selected for this award and so grateful to Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky participants who made it possible,” said Erin O’Doherty, Ward 2 City Council Member. “This 25kW solar array and EV car charging station project is not only a win for the environment but for the local community, too. By generating our own electricity, we’ll save on energy costs — and that means we can dedicate more of our budget to our capital projects and operations.”
Blue Sky is an opt-in program that gives Rocky Mountain Power customers an option to match all or part of their energy use with renewable energy -- reducing their carbon footprints and driving demand for new renewable energy in the West. Through the Blue Sky Block option, participants also support qualifying, renewable energy projects for local institutions such as schools, community centers and arts organizations.
“For 20 years, the Blue Sky program has offered Rocky Mountain Power customers a simple and powerful way to live their values, reduce their carbon footprint and support renewable energy,” said Mike Morrissey, Regional Business Manager at Rocky Mountain Power. “Unlike most green power programs, Blue Sky goes beyond the purchase of renewable energy credits to help fund additional smaller energy projects for organizations in our communities. Through projects such as this, Blue Sky participants are powering a better future for local communities.”
Construction on the Fire Station 3 25kW solar array and EV car charging station project will begin in the spring of 2022. It is expected to begin generating power by June 30, 2022.
Laramie Community Recreation and Ice & Event Center Solar Energy Projects
The City of Laramie was a proud recipient of a funding award from Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program participants to support the installation of solar arrays to serve the Laramie Community Recreation and the Ice & Event Centers. Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program funds renewable energy projects in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. The solar installations at the Laramie Community Recreation and the Ice & Event Centers represent the City’s first major step toward carbon neutrality. These facilities were selected for the inaugural solar investment for their impact toward the municipal goal of net neutrality and for their ability to serve as an educational site for the thousands of annual guests visiting both facilities each year.
In May of 2021, the City of Laramie was proud to announce that the 25kW solar projects at the Laramie Community Recreation Center and Laramie Ice & Event Center had been completed with the installation of three public kiosks. These public kiosks were installed in the lobbies of the Recreation Center and the Ice & Event Center, as well as in the Laramie High School cafeteria. The kiosk monitors provide daily and weekly real-time solar energy production, lifetime totals and comparisons to saved carbon emissions and trees planted.
Thank you to Rocky Mountain Power's Blue Sky customers for making these projects possible.
|SolSmart||SolSmart is a program offered by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and International City/County Management Association in order to improve and streamline city policies and procedures in order to improve solar readiness.|
|Solar Photovoltaic 101 Video||U.S. Department of Energy video describing solar photovoltaic systems.|
|Energy 101: Concentrating Solar Power Video||U.S. Department of Energy video describing solar thermal systems.|
|Cracking the Myths Behind Snow and Solar Panels||U.S. Department of Energy video discussing impacts of snow on solar energy systems|
|Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power||A Solar Energy Industries Association document guide informing potential solar customers about the financing options available, contracting terms to be aware of, and other useful tips.|
|Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar||U.S. Department of Energy webpage discussing many important aspects of residential solar energy systems.|