2010 Wyoming Statutes
Title 34 - Property, Conveyances And Security Transactions
Chapter 22 - Solar Rights

CHAPTER 22 - SOLAR RIGHTS

 

34-22-101. Short title.

 

This act may be cited as the "Solar Rights Act".

 

34-22-102. Definitions.

 

 

(a) As used in this act:

 

(i) "Solar collector" is one (1) of the following which is capable of collecting, storing or transmitting at least twenty-five thousand (25,000) BTU's on a clear winter solstice day:

 

(A) A wall, clerestory or skylight window designed to transmit solar energy into a structure for heating purposes;

 

(B) A greenhouse attached to another structure and designed to provide part of the heating load for the structure to which it is attached;

 

(C) A trombe wall, "drum wall" or other wall or roof structural element designed to collect and transmit solar energy into a structure;

 

(D) A photovoltaic collector designed to convert solar energy into electric energy;

 

(E) A plate-type collector designed to use solar energy to heat air, water or other fluids for use in hot water or space heating or for other applications; or

 

(F) A massive structural element designed to collect solar energy and transmit it to internal spaces for heating.

 

(ii) "Solar right" is a property 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. The extent of the solar right shall be described by that illumination provided by the path of the sun on the winter solstice day which is put to a beneficial use or otherwise limited by this act;

 

(iii) "Winter solstice day" is the solstice on or about December 21 which marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere and is the time when the sun reaches its southernmost point;

 

(iv) "Local government" means a city, town or county;

 

(v) "This act" means W.S. 34-22-101 through 34-22-106.

 

34-22-103. Declaration of solar rights.

 

 

(a) The beneficial use of solar energy is a property right.

 

(b) In disputes over the use of solar energy:

 

(i) Beneficial use shall be the basis, the measure and the limit of the solar right, except as otherwise provided by written contract. If the amount of solar energy which a solar user can beneficially use varies with the season of the year, then the extent of the solar right shall vary likewise;

 

(ii) Priority in time shall have the better right, except as provided in this act; and

 

(iii) Nothing in this act diminishes the right of eminent domain.

 

(c) Solar rights are property rights and as such shall be freely transferable within the bounds of law.

 

34-22-104. Restrictions on solar rights.

 

 

(a) The solar right to radiation of the sun before 9:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time is de minimus and may be infringed without compensation to the owner of the solar collector.

 

(b) A solar right which is not applied to a beneficial use for a period of five (5) years or more shall be deemed abandoned and without priority.

 

(c) Solar collectors shall be located on the solar user's property so as not to unreasonably or unnecessarily restrict the uses of neighboring property. Unless otherwise permitted by the local government, no solar right attaches to a solar collector, or a portion of a solar collector, which would be shaded by a ten (10) foot wall located on the property line on a winter solstice day.

 

34-22-105. County and municipal authority.

 

 

(a) Land-use regulations of local governments may encourage the use of solar energy systems. To encourage the use of solar energy systems, local governments may regulate:

 

(i) The height, location, setback and energy efficiency of structures;

 

(ii) The height and location of vegetation with respect to property lines;

 

(iii) The platting and orientation of land developments; and

 

(iv) The type and location of energy systems or their components.

 

(b) The local government shall establish permit systems for the use and application of solar energy. Where a local government establishes a permit system for the use and application of solar energy:

 

(i) A solar permit shall be granted before a solar right may be established;

 

(ii) The local government shall grant a solar permit to any proposed or existing solar collector which complies with this act. If a local government sets height or locational limits on structures or vegetation, the local government may restrict the solar permit to the airspace above or surrounding the restrictions. The extent of the solar right granted by this act shall not exceed the extent of the solar right granted by the solar permit;

 

(iii) The solar right vests on the date the solar permit is granted. The solar collector shall be put to beneficial use within two (2) years except the local government may allow additional time for good cause shown. The local government shall certify the right and its beneficial use within two (2) years of its vesting;

 

(iv) The priority of new construction with regard to interference in solar rights shall vest as of the date the building permit is applied for;

 

(v) Cities and towns shall regulate solar rights within their boundaries. Counties shall regulate solar rights within the county and outside city limits. Local governments which agree may regulate solar rights jointly;

 

(vi) Existing solar collector users shall apply for permits within five (5) years after the date permit systems are established by their local governments. The priority date for these solar rights shall be the first date the solar collector was beneficially used.

 

(c) No local government shall prohibit the construction or use of solar collectors except for reasons of public health and safety.

 

34-22-106. Recording solar rights.

 

The granting of solar permits and the transfer of solar rights shall be recorded pursuant to W.S. 34-1-101 through 34-1-140. The instrument granting a solar permit shall include a description of the collector surface, or that portion of the collector surface to which the solar permit is granted. The description shall include the dimensions of the collector surface, the direction of orientation, the height above ground level and the location of the collector on the solar user's property.

 

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