Charlottesville, VA, recently achieved designation as a SolSmart Bronze community by reducing the soft costs of solar power. The achievement recognizes communities that make it faster, easier and cheaper for homeowners and businesses in the community to go solar.
In January Charlottesville became one of the first communities to get a SolSmart advisor, to help it more quickly identify and enact policies and programs that would make it a more solar friendly community. It appears to have worked as the city has reduced the soft costs of solar power and has now joined the ranks of the first 50 localities in the country to receive a SolSmart designation. It’s also the first city in Virginia to earn SolSmart status.
"I am proud that Charlottesville has been recognized as the first in Virginia to earn a SolSmart designation. The city's recent accomplishments in the SolSmart program will benefit everyone by making locally-sourced clean energy more accessible and affordable. We will continue our work in the SolSmart program to support solar energy development in our town that will create jobs and help protect our environment," said Kathy Galvin, registered architect and Charlottesville City Councilor.
Charlottesville was able to achieve the designation by earning credits for taking certain actions. For instance, it installed solar energy systems on several city facilities. The city streamlined the permitting process and has provided its fire department with solar safety trainings. The city also hosted Solarize events offering group discounts on solar installations, and is offering financial incentives for property owners who install solar.
"We are establishing Charlottesville as a hub for renewable energy, and the City has been a great partner in supporting local solar energy development. Earning the SolSmart designation sends the message to the solar industry that this is a place they want to do business," said Devin Welch of the recently launched Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance (CvilleREA).
The city said it aims to take more actions to make it more solar friendly to achieve SolSmart Silver designation by the end of the summer. The city will said it will clarify zoning codes and offer staff trainings related to solar to help it achieve the higher status.Tweet