The City of Delaware’s work in promoting the use of solar energy has been awarded national recognition. Last week, the city announced it has received a bronze designation from the SolSmart program, which awards the designations based on a city’s actions to reduce barriers to solar energy development.
SolSmart uses objective criteria to award points to communities based on the actions they have taken to reduce those barriers. Communities that take sufficient action are designated either gold, silver or bronze recognition. According to its website, more than 400 cities, towns and counties across 41 states have achieved SolSmart designation since the program first launched in 2016.
Other central Ohio communities to have received designations include the city of Upper Arlington, which has been designated as a gold community, as well as Franklin County and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, each of which received silver designations.
“We are proud to be recognized as a national leader in advancing solar energy,” said City Manager Tom Homan. “We want to help more local homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar, as well as drive economic development and create local jobs.”
The SolSmart program is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and the International City/County Management Association, and it receives funding through the United States Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies office.
In order to receive a designation, changes must be made to a city or county’s local processes that will reduce the time and money necessary to install a solar energy system. Delaware’s efforts were led by Erin Wolfe, the city’s watershed and sustainability coordinator.
In a press release detailing the designation, the city said it undertook a complete evaluation of its local permitting processes, as well as planning and zoning procedures. In addition to the evaluations, the city also created a section on its website devoted to solar energy permitting for both residential and commercial use.
To help communities achieve a designation, SolSmart provides technical assistance from a team of national experts who work to evaluate programs and practices that impact solar markets while identifying opportunities for improvements, all at no cost to the community.
All municipalities, counties and regional organizations are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive technical assistance.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.