Albemarle County, VA, is the latest community to achieve a SolSmart Designation for making it easier to go solar in the community by reducing the soft costs of solar, like permitting costs and wait times. The county, which achieved SolSmart Bronze, is one of the first in the state to earn the designation and did so after receiving a SolSmart Advisor.
“The county has committed to lowering the costs and barriers for the community to go solar, and I hope the community will take advantage of the opportunity to save money on electric bills and foster energy independence with a domestic source of clean energy. We want encourage the growth of local solar jobs and the continued development of a renewable energy hub in our region,” said Norman Dill, vice chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.
The county achieved the designation by passing a new zoning ordinance that allows solar farms and creating new online solar resources for the public. It also offers the fire and rescue department solar panel safety training.
The county received SolSmart credits for hosting Solarize campaigns that offer group-purchase discounts on solar installations to community members as well as financial incentives for property owners who install solar energy systems in the county. It also identified potential ways to further support solar in its policies.
“The County has joined the ranks of other leading communities in the country that have taken steps to encourage local solar growth. We will continue to grow our commitments to reduce energy consumption and increase renewable energy use in our own operations, said Greg Harper, chief of Environmental Services in Albemarle County.
The SolSmart designation is growing quickly in the US. Earlier this Spring, SolSmart announced that 22 new communities achieved a SolSmart designation and that a total of 58 had become SolSmart communities within a year.
The pace at which more communities are able to achieve the status is increasing now that SolSmart also is offering advisors to certain communities to help them revise their solar permitting and other processes to make it easier for those in the community to go solar. Both Charlottesville, VA, and Albemarle County benefitted from a SolSmart advisor. In the case of Albemarle County, it said the advisor worked full-time over six months to support the changes and designation.Tweet