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The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

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North Carolina

North Carolina

Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version
Model Wind Ordinance   

Last DSIRE Review: 09/11/2014
Program Overview:
State: North Carolina
Incentive Type: Solar/Wind Permitting Standards
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Wind
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, Utility, State Government, Fed. Government, Agricultural, Institutional
Authority 1:
Model Wind Ordinance for Wind Energy Facilities in North Carolina

Note: This model ordinance was designed to provide guidance to local governments that wish to develop their own siting rules for wind turbines. While it was developed as part of a cooperative effort involving several state agencies, the model itself has no legal or regulatory authority.

In July, 2008 the North Carolina Wind Working Group, a coalition of state government, non-profit and wind industry organizations, published a model wind ordinance to provide guidance for communities seeking to promote wind energy. For the purposes of this model, wind-energy systems are classified as "small" if they consist of a single wind turbine with a rated generating capacity of 20 kilowatts (kW) or less, "medium" if they have a total rated capacity of more than 20 kW but not greater than 100 kW and "large" if they have a total rated capacity of more than 100 kW.

Height Requirements: Wind turbine height is the distance measured from grade at the center of the tower to the highest point of the turbine rotor or tip of the turbine blade when it reaches its highest elevation. The setbacks (addressed below) are minimum requirements, designed to protect public safety and mitigate the impacts of noise and shadow flicker. By addressing these concerns through minimum setback requirements, the model wind ordinance omits lot size requirements and height restrictions.

Setbacks: The setback is calculated by multiplying the required setback number by the wind turbine height and measured from the center of the wind turbine base to the property line, building or road. Setbacks are generally determined by the following table:

Wind Energy Facility Type Occupied Buildings on Participating Landowner Property Occupied Buildings on Non-Participating Landowner Property Property Lines on Non-Participating Landowner Property Public Roads
Small System 0.0 1.5 1.1 1.5
Medium System 1.1 2.0 1.5 1.5
Large Scale 1.1 2.5 1.5 1.5

Setbacks may be waived under certain conditions when all affected parties agree to different terms.

Noise Requirements: Noise and shadow flicker issues for small and medium wind energy facilities are addressed by setbacks, or will be addressed by existing noise ordinances. Audible sound from a large wind energy facility should not exceed fifty-five dBA, as measured at any occupied building of a non-participating landowner. Restrictions may be waived under certain conditions.

Installation and Appearance: The installation and design of the wind energy facility should conform to applicable industry standards and meet all local, state and national codes. The wind energy facility should be a non-obtrusive color such as white, off-white or gray, should not be artificially lighted, except to the extent required by the Federal Aviation Administration and should not display advertising or decorative items.

The permit application should contain information about the size, type and location of the wind energy facility; a detailed site plan; proof of compliance with local, state and federal regulations; an environmental assessment; decommissioning plans and any agreements among participating parties.

  Bob Leker
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
State Energy Office
512 N. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC 27604
Phone: (919) 733-1907
Web Site:
  Paul Quinlan
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association
P.O. Box 6465
Raleigh, NC 27628
Phone: (919) 832-7601 Ext.105
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.