160A-201.  Limitations on regulating solar collectors.

(a)        Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, no city ordinance shall prohibit, or have the effect of prohibiting, the installation of a solar collector that gathers solar radiation as a substitute for traditional energy for water heating, active space heating and cooling, passive heating, or generating electricity for a residential property, and no person shall be denied permission by a city to install a solar collector that gathers solar radiation as a substitute for traditional energy for water heating, active space heating and cooling, passive heating, or generating electricity for a residential property. As used in this section, the term "residential property" means property where the predominant use is for residential purposes.

(b)        This section does not prohibit an ordinance regulating the location or screening of solar collectors as described in subsection (a) of this section, provided the ordinance does not have the effect of preventing the reasonable use of a solar collector for a residential property.

(c)        This section does not prohibit an ordinance that would prohibit the location of solar collectors as described in subsection (a) of this section that are visible by a person on the ground:

(1)        On the facade of a structure that faces areas open to common or public access;

(2)        On a roof surface that slopes downward toward the same areas open to common or public access that the facade of the structure faces; or

(3)        Within the area set off by a line running across the facade of the structure extending to the property boundaries on either side of the facade, and those areas of common or public access faced by the structure.

(d)       In any civil action arising under this section, the court may award costs and reasonable attorneys' fees to the prevailing party.  (2007-279, s. 1; 2009-553, s. 1.)