Jefferson County is among twenty cities, towns, and counties in Colorado have now received designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar. Colorado now ties California for the most SolSmart designations nationwide, marking the state as a leader in the expansion of solar energy.
SolSmart designation recognizes communities for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. A SolSmart designation helps Colorado communities meet their goals for renewable energy growth, sustainability, and reduced energy costs. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart designation is a signal that they are is “open for solar business.”
The 20 SolSmart designees in Colorado include Adams County; Aurora; Boulder; Boulder County; Breckenridge; Brighton; Broomfield; Clear Creek County; Delta County; Denver; Durango; Fort Collins; Golden; Jefferson County; Lafayette; Lakewood; Longmont; Pueblo; Pueblo County; and Superior.
SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. More than 220 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
“Jefferson County continues to provide streamlined processes for solar PV permitting and inspections. Solar permits issued by the county in 2018 were up nearly 20% since receiving the SolSmart Gold designation in 2017, the second-most permits issued in a single year by the county,” said Jabez Meulemans, Jefferson County Sustainability Coordinator.
As SolSmart designees, these 20 Colorado communities cut red tape, help drive greater solar deployment, and make it possible for even more Coloradans’ homes and businesses to access solar energy to meet their electricity needs.
To receive designation, municipalities and counties make changes to their local processes to reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. This includes evaluating local permitting processes as well as planning and zoning procedures. SolSmart designees also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance.
SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Communities that take sufficient action are designated SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze.
As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities achieve designation. All municipalities and counties are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive this technical assistance. Interested communities can learn more at SolSmart.org.
SolSmart is a national designation and technical assistance program that recognizes leading solar communities and empowers additional communities to expand their local solar markets. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, SolSmart strives to cut red tape, drive greater solar deployment, and make it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access solar energy to meet their electricity needs. Learn more at SolSmart.org.