Renewable Energy Resources for Community Planning

Compiled by Purdue Extension Land Use Team – November 2022

Contacts: Tamara Ogle and Kara Salazar 

Community Planning for Agriculture and Natural Resources: A Guide for Local Government

Sections include:  Renewable Energy Integration for Sustainable Communities and What is Pollinator Friendly Solar?


Purdue Extension and the Indiana Land Resources Council collaboratively developed this guidance document to support plan commission members as well as local government officials and staff — with resources and examples to integrate agriculture and natural resources into community land use planning efforts for developing or updating comprehensive plans. Each document in the series provides an overview of the topic, economic development considerations, community examples, and resources to make connections for local planning efforts.

Community Planning New Hampshire- University of New Hampshire

Community Planning New Hampshire

This article focuses on the benefits of mixed-use developments and the correlation between land use and energy consumption.  Additionally, steps are laid out for communities who wish to decrease energy use through mixed-use development.  A case study on mixed-use villages, conducted in New Hampshire, is also included.

Indiana Renewable Energy Community Planning Study and Ordinance Inventory Summary

land use

Purdue Extension’s Land Use Team conducted a comprehensive overview study of land use regulations for wind and solar energy. The report provides a summary of state-wide renewable energy ordinances and county snapshots. These resources can be used as a reference for plan directors and plan commission members to compare other renewable energy zoning ordinances and zoning tools used in counties across Indiana.

Indiana Renewable Energy Resources 2022 Study - State Utility Forecasting Group

Indiana Renewable Energy Resources

This annual report provides an overview of trends in renewable energy consumption for both the United State and Indiana.  It provides information on the economics and incentives for different renewable energy technologies including solar and wind and lists current and proposed commercial renewable energy projects within the state.

Agricultural Solar Energy Development: Understanding Lease Agreements for Utility-Scale Installations - Michigan State University Extension 

Agricultural Solar Energy Development

This bulletin provides farmers and other landowners with information about land lease agreements for utility-scale solar developments. Before signing papers for any type of arrangement with an energy company, seek legal advice from an attorney who is licensed in the state and has appropriate experience with real estate transactions and, preferably, solar projects. 

Guide to Land Leases for Solar - Solar Energy Industries Association

Guide to Land Leases for Solar

This article lays out the steps to entering a land use lease with a commercial solar company. It also provides land owners with important questions to have answered by developers, and ways to manage and resolve land use conflicts.

Landowner Leasing for Utility Scale Solar Farms - Penn State

Landowner Leasing for Utility Scale Solar Farms

This article highlights the terms and conditions that land owners should consider when signing a land lease for utility scale solar.  Utility scale solar farms require acres of land, and can impact a property for many years.  Due to a project’s large scale and economic benefits, land owners must understand the solar leasing agreements before signing.  This article explains leasing agreements, lease documents and property evaluations.

Large-Scale Solar Siting - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Large-Scale Solar Siting

This article illustrates the requirements of a parcel of land on which to place large scale solar fields.  It also lays out which sites may be harder to place solar fields on, such as brownfields and bodies of water.  Finally, it highlights perceived issues with solar fields, such as their impact on birds, water runoff and farming.

Model Solar Ordinance for Indiana Local Governments - Great Plains Institute, Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute  

Model Solar Ordinance

The Model Ordinance is based on research and best practices identified through working with over 100 Midwestern communities over the last ten years as solar energy markets evolved and expanded. The model has been tailored to reflect Indiana-specific enabling statutes, ordinance practices, and community priorities currently seen in the state, with input from local planning, solar industry, and other experts.

On-Site Project Development Process - United States Environmental Protection Agency

On-Site Project Development Process

This article lays out the step-by-step process of planning and developing a public solar project for commercial scale solar farms.  Imbedded in the article are several resources designed to guide local governments through the project development process. 

Planning & Zoning for Solar Energy Systems: A Guide for Michigan Local Governments - Michigan State University

Planning & Zoning for Solar Energy Systems

This resource provides information about different scales and configurations of solar uses.  It outlines land use considerations for solar and offers some sample language and tools for land use policies guiding the siting of these different SES types.

Solar Siting - Farmland Information Center

Solar Siting

This resource provides information about agrovoltaics and the installation of commercial solar on viable, producing farmland.  This resource contains links to several info sheets, graphs and videos illustrating the production rates and other soil research on dual-use solar voltaic fields. Resources are categorized by audience with information for state officials, local officials  and farmland owners.

SolSmart’s Toolkit for Local Governments: Planning, Zoning and Development

SolSmart’s Toolkit

This article is intended to assist local communities with establishing local codes to reduce costs and bolster the solar energy market.  Communities can incorporate solar energy development through comprehensive plans, subarea plans, functional plans, zoning ordinances and building codes. This article also highlights considerations for solar as an accessory and primary use with a strong focus on incorporated areas.

Agricultural Impact Statements: Wind Farms - State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

Agricultural Impact Statements

This article provides construction recommendations for commercial scale wind farms on farmland located specifically in the state of Wisconsin. This resource has links to licenses, permits, impact statements and groundwater quality reports that all pertain to the impacts of wind turbines on green-fields and the surrounding areas.

An Examination of the Community Level Dynamics Related to the Introduction of Wind Energy in Indiana

Wind Energy

A team of researchers from Purdue University focused on where wind farm projects have and have not been located and examined socio-economic conditions that have resulted since the wind farms were (or were not) installed and made operational.

Blowing in the Wind: The Answer to Farmland Preservation – University of Michigan

Blowing in the Wind

This resource highlights the ways commercial wind farms can be used to preserve farmland and farming communities.  This resource also emphasizes that wind farms are another source of income for farmers without having to sell their land. 

Does my Land Qualify for a Wind Lease- LandGateNews

Does my Land Qualify for a Wind Farm

This article highlights the requirements of a proper site for a commercial wind farm.  These requirements include acreage, power grid access and the quality of the land.  Included is a wind land estimator, designed to provide a rough estimate of a possible wind lease.

Sample Zoning for Wind Energy Systems - Michigan State University Extension 

Sample Zoning for Wind Energy Systems

This publication presents a zoning ordinance sample amendment for utility-scale wind energy systems and smaller wind electric generation systems for an individual business or home.