Description: Solar company's motion for a pre-appeal determination concerning whether state law preempted local zoning authority over solar energy generating systems.
Board of County Commissioners of Washington County v. Perennial Solar, LLC
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/15/2019 Opinion Download Court ruled that state law preempted local zoning authority. Maryland High Court Said State Law Preempted Local Land Use Authority over Solar Energy Systems. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that state law preempted local zoning authority with respect to solar energy generating systems (SEGS) that require a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by the Maryland Public Service Commission. The question of state and local authority to determine whether and where SEGS can be constructed arose in a case concerning a SEGS to be built on two contiguous farms totaling 86 acres. After landowners challenged local approvals for the SEGs, the SEGS developer sought a pre-appeal determination challenging the court’s jurisdiction on the ground of state law preemption by implication. The Court of Appeals affirmed lower court determinations that the state public utilities law preempted by implication local authority approval for siting and location and SEGS. The Court of Appeals said the state law was comprehensive and specifically gave local authorities an advisory role. In describing the statutory framework for the public utilities law, the court noted the intent of the legislature to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to move the energy market away from reliance on fossil fuels.