Solar Power

Planning and Zoning


Getting Started with Solar – Pine County

Pine County is committed to supporting solar energy systems and technology. As part of that commitment, the County has assembled information on solar power as it relates to planning, permitting, and education.  This information is provided to earn SolSmart recognition for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for community members to go solar. 

About Solar Energy
Solar energy can be used to generate electricity, to provide hot water, and to heat, cool, and light buildings.  Minnesota is a great place for solar energy.  Much of the Midwest has the same solar potential as Tallahassee, FL and Houston, TX! Through a combination of utility rebates and new technology, solar electricity continues to become more affordable and a more common part of our energy system. 

Zoning, Permit and Inspection Process
For ground-mounted solar systems in Pine County, the following permit process is required:

  • Pine County requires a building permit in Shoreland and Floodplain locations. If solar systems are not in shoreland or floodplain locations, a building permit is not required.
  • Electrical permits are granted through the State of MN. To apply for an electrical permit online, click here.
  • Inspections occur through a State of Minnesota Inspector, more information can be found on the state webpage . A Solar PV Inspection Checklist for Minnesota can be found at this link. Communities within Pine County that adopt the Minnesota building code should consult this inspection checklist as a best practice.
  • For more information on electrical permitting, contact our state inspectors:
    • Stephen Fischer: 320-279-7580
    • James Kilian: 218-851-9648

Interested in your own solar energy system? 
Wondering if a particular site in Minnesota is good for solar energy? The Minnesota Solar Suitability App  can help. This tool displays the solar potential of every spot in the state of Minnesota. With this data, and the services provided through this application, home and business owners can easily identify the solar potential of their property.  

How can I find a solar developer? 

What is Pine County doing around solar energy? 

Is Financing Available for Solar Energy Projects? 

Interested in Employment in the Clean Energy Sector? 

Contact Us

HOURS: Monday thru Friday
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m

Office Location
1610 Hwy 23 North
Sandstone, MN 55072
P: (320) 216-4220
F: (320) 216-4244 
E: mike.gainor@co.pine.mn.us