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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Regulatory Information Overviews

Search for other summaries about Solar regulations and permitting.


A typical utility-scale solar project will raise numerous environmental issues that require permitting and/or regulatory approval from federal and state agencies. The environmental law in the United States is governed by federal law that is administered by both federal and state agencies, as well as state environmental laws that either complement federal law or go above and beyond it. The federal government and individual states may require reviews, permits or approvals for cultural resources, biological resources, sensitive land use, water resources, and hazardous waste and materials management and disposal.

Permitting Location Environmental Review Process Environmental Review Process Agency Type of State Environmental Review
(Leasing Stage)
Type of State Environmental Review
(Non-invasive Exploration)
Type of State Environmental Review
(Invasive Exploration)
Type of State Environmental Review
Type of State Environmental Review
(Power Plant Siting)

Solar Environment in California

Developers must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when undergoing projects in California. Power plants over 50 MW are subject to the California Energy Commission siting process in lieu of the CEQA process.

California Department of Conservation

The California Energy Commission or a designated local county will conduct an environmental review process that replaces the California Environmental Policy Act process for power plants with a net generating capacity of over 50 MW.

Solar Environment in Federal

National Environmental Policy Act

United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Energy, United States Department of Defense

Typically an Environmental Assessment (EA) is conducted for individual leases or rights-of-way. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) may be required for programmatic environmental reviews or when reviewing multiple lease parcels or rights-of-way in a single review.

Solar Environment in Nevada

Nevada Utility Environmental Protection Act

Nevada Division of Environmental Protection

Nevada Utility Environmental Protection Act review process for renewable energy facilities over 70 MW and transmission lines of at least 200 kV.

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