Unique Program Launches Next Week to Make Solar Easier for Citizens:
“12 Best Practices: A Roadmap to a Solar Friendly Community”
provides simple way to help cities and counties
Solar Friendly Communities, a coalition working to make rooftop solar energy systems less expensive for residents, faster for solar installers and easier for local governments, will introduce a unique roadmap in three workshops next week.
Interested representatives from Front Range communities are invited to learn how their cities and counties can make it easier for citizens to go solar while gaining valuable recognition as a Solar Friendly Community.
The cities of Denver, Fort Collins and Golden, along with Boulder County, have joined with the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) to develop a simple way for local governments to streamline solar permitting and inspection while promoting more rooftop solar development.
“We are excited to introduce ’12 Best Practices: A Roadmap to a Solar Friendly Community’ and show how a series of steps will lead communities to streamline solar installations and result in many benefits for residents and city or county staff alike,” says Rebecca Cantwell, senior program director for Solar Friendly Communities.
While the cost of solar energy components has dropped by up to 75 percent in recent years, the “soft” costs of solar, including permitting, are keeping prices out of reach for too many consumers. According to a recent report by SunRun, local permitting and inspection processes add about $2,500 to the cost of each residential system. Permitting requirements vary dramatically across Colorado’s more than 200 cities and towns, its 64 counties and its 65 utilities.
“One of the strengths of the Solar Friendly Communities program is that, by working together on best practices, we can shave time and money off the soft costs for installing solar PV-while respecting each community’s unique needs,” says Ned Harvey, RMI’s chief operating officer. “We hope this model can then be replicated far beyond the borders of the original participating communities.”
“This program can make a real difference in driving down the costs of solar so more people can take advantage of this home grown energy source which offers local jobs and protection from rising fuel prices,” says Neal Lurie, executive director of COSEIA.
In two-hour free workshops, the program will be explained through video, speakers and a guided tour of a new website. Media are welcome at any of the three workshops where the same program will be presented for the convenience of attendees.
The workshops will be:
Sept. 18: 1 p.m.- 3 p.m.: South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, 2154 E. Commons Ave, Suite 342, Centennial, CO 80122. (In Southglenn shopping center)
Sept. 19: 9:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.: The Alliance Center, 1536 Wynkoop St. Denver 80202, Third Floor Conference Room
Sept. 20: 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.: Rocky Mountain Institute, 1820 Folsom St. Boulder CO, 80302. Upstairs Training Room
This program is made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative. Solar Friendly Communities is one of 22 national Rooftop Solar Challenge teams.