A statewide initiative designed to encourage the expansion of solar energy by making it easier for citizens to install solar systems on their homes and businesses has awarded the city of Aurora a silver-level Solar Friendly Communities designation, only the second such honor presented.
The city of Aurora applied for the designation, which is awarded via a points system based on the adoption of policies and procedures that streamline solar permitting by making the process easier for local governments, faster for solar installers and less expensive for citizens who want to use solar energy.
“The steps taken by the city of Aurora will make a significant difference in the ability of citizens to go solar,” said Rebecca Cantwell, senior program director for Solar Friendly Communities. “The city has shown real leadership, and we hope this award helps spur economic and environmental benefits.”
Solar Friendly Communities, an initiative led by the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA) and including the cities of Denver, Fort Collins and Golden, Boulder County, the Rocky Mountain Institute and the American Solar Energy Society, is one of 22 Rooftop Solar Challenge teams nationally selected through a program powered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. Information is available at www.solarcommunities.org.
The Department of Energy is attempting to reduce the cost of solar energy to become price competitive without subsidies by the end of the decade. Streamlining processes and “soft” costs related to permitting, installation and other practices, which account for up to 40 percent of a rooftop solar system, will bring down the cost of solar.
Solar Friendly Communities plans to present a plaque and road sign to the Aurora City Council at the Jan. 28 regular meeting to recognize the city of Aurora’s newly achieved silver-level Solar Friendly Communities designation.
The city of Aurora has launched a new web page at www.auroragov.org/solar to inform building owners and contractors with the requirements regarding installation of solar photovoltaic systems in the city. The new web page also outlines the role solar plays in Aurora’s sustainability initiatives and provides a map of solar installations in the city.