WattsUp San Miguel County

Solar Initiative

Wattsup San Miguel County logo (PNG)San Miguel County is proud to announce our “WattsUp San Miguel County” initiative.  Our initiative is designed to streamline our permitting process and highlight available technical and financial resources for our citizens and landowners to install solar PV systems on their property. 

Small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that are used for on-site electricity generation to power a residence, business, or agricultural operation on private land within unincorporated San Miguel County, for which the County has jurisdiction and land use authority, are a use-by-right in all zones in San Miguel County.  They may be off-grid or grid-tied, self-supporting or mounted on a structure.  The county does not charge permit fees for site-development or building permits for solar PV systems and issues permits for these solar PV systems under a simple administrative review process.

The process to obtain no-fee permits (free!) is outlined in our Solar PV Checklist (PDF) and explained in technical detail here. We have also put together a list of local solar installers (PDF) current as of September 2018. These links and pointers are provided for the user’s convenience.  San Miguel County does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of this outside information. 

Solar PV systems that are Public Utility Structures are permitted in all zones through a two-step review process which involves a review by the Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners pursuant to Land Use Code sections 5-319 G. IX. Public Utility Structure, 5-319 H. Area and Bulk Requirements, and the Zone District Special Uses for the underlying zone.  Industrial or utility-scale solar farms are large arrays intended to generate electrical power for a utility to sell to off-site users.


In 2017 and 2018 the Board of County Commissioners’ (BOCC) announced that one of its goals for the county organization is to “Work Toward Becoming Carbon Neutral”.  In harmony with that goal, San Miguel County is applying to be a recognized SolSmart local government. SolSmart is helping San Miguel County become even more solar-friendly for its citizens and property owners to also work toward this goal. 

SolSmart is supported by the County's mission, goals, energy policies, and active participation in local, regional and state partnerships. These efforts demonstrate that San Miguel County and our community partners are committed to driving continuous improvement in our solar market, and in the process of doing so, all the related areas identified as County, local and regional priorities.

SolSmart is a national designation and technical assistance program for local governments funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. The program promotes the use of best practices by local governments to streamline solar processes and increase affordability and accessibility for residents and businesses. All communities can access no-cost technical assistance, even outside of this Challenge. To date, SolSmart has over 200 designees who have achieved SolSmart designation for fostering the growth of local solar markets in their cities and counties.

Contractor Non-Endorsement Disclaimer

San Miguel County does not endorse individual vendors, products or services.  Therefore, any reference herein to any vendor, product or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation or approval of San Miguel County.