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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Orange County - Small Wind Energy Systems   

Last DSIRE Review: 07/23/2012
Program Overview:
State: California
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Wind
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Residential, Agricultural
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
County of Orange Zoning Code Section 7-9-146.8

In December 2010, the County of Orange Board of Supervisors adopted small wind performance and development standards (Ord. No. 10-020) in order to promote distributed generation systems in non-urbanized areas (as defined in Government Code Section 65944(d)(2)) within the unincorporated territory. Permitting standards are for systems of 50 kW or less per customer site, for which the energy is primarily for on-site consumption.

Height: For systems 45 feet tall or less, a use permit must be approved by the Zoning Administrator, and for systems between 45 and 80 feet in height, the use permit must be approved by the Planning Commission. Systems of up to 100 feet may be considered if special circumstances can be demonstrated.

Site Area: Lot size for the wind system can not be less than 1 acre.

Number of Units: For systems of 60 feet or less, there may not be more than 2 systems on a lot of 5 acres or less. For every additional 5 acres of land, 1 more system may be added, for up to 5 total systems. For systems taller than 60 feet, only 1 system is allowed per 10 acres of land. No more than 3 systems total are allowed.

Setback: All systems must be set back from property lines at least 2 times the height of the system. Towers must be set apart from each other at least 1.5 times the height of the taller tower. All parts of the system, including guy wire anchors, must be at least 30 feet away from property lines. Additional fire setback requirements may apply.

System: Wind turbine systems must meet minimu California Energy Commission ratings and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements. All parts of the turbine blade must be at least 15 feet from the ground. Towers cannot have a climbing apparatus below twelve feet above the ground.

Noise: All systems must comply with county Noise Control Requirements.

Visual Effects, Lighting, etc.: Systems cannot block the view of adjacent property owners and cannot be visible from a scenic highway or a landscape corridor. No lighting of the tower is permitted except as required by the FAA, Federal Communications Commission, or building codes. Wind system accessory structures should be screened using landscaping.

  County of Orange
OC Planning
300 North Flower Street
P.O. Box 4048
Santa Ana, CA 92702
Phone: (714) 667-8888
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.