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NEC Exemptions: Solar Panels

Some development on lands within the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP) are exempt from the Developmental Permit Application process, including solar panels that meet certain criteria. Landowners within the NEP are encouraged to use the following Exemption Fact Sheet to see if their development is exempt and approval from NEC is not needed.

For more information, read R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 828 which lists the classes of development that are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a Development Permit.

Self Assessment: Is your solar panel project exempt?

The installation of a solar panel or solar water heating system is permitted without the need for a Development Permit if the solar panels or solar water heating system are flush-mounted to the roof of any building or structure (e.g., the solar panels lay flat on the roof).

This exemption does not include the following:
  • Solar panels on the ground.
  • Solar panels that are on a roof but not completely flush (and parallel to) the roof.
Please note the following:
  • Your self evaluation is your confirmation that the development meets the exemption criteria. It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that all requirements are met for the exemption. Proceeding with development where a permit would be required may result in compliance actions.

The construction and installation of flush mounted solar panels and solar water heating systems on the roof of any building or structure.

(Excerpt from: R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 828)

Do you meet the exemption criteria?

If you meet all criteria, you do not need a Development Permit to proceed.

  • A letter confirming your exemption will not be issued by the Niagara Escarpment Commission.
  • You can use this page in discussions with your local municipality or conservation authority if permits are needed from them. 
  • An exemption does not relieve you of any other permission (e.g., Ontario Building Code, Endangered Species Act, Ontario Regulation 172/06 established under the Conservation Authorities Act, etc.).

If you fail to meet all criteria, a Development Permit is required.

  • To initiate a Development Permit Application log into the NEC Information System Portal. Use the NEC Information System User Guide for more information.

If you have questions about the application process, contact NEC directly by emailing

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