The Virginia Solar Initiative of the Center for Economic and Policy Studies at UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service and the state’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) are actively recruiting Virginia localities to participate in this summer and fall’s SolSmart Advisor cohort.
SolSmart is a national program that has helped more than 350 local governments in 41 states make it faster, easier, and more affordable for residents and businesses to go solar. The program is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
The no-cost solar technical assistance program empowers participating localities to expand their local solar markets and become “solar ready” by identifying and removing barriers to solar development at the residential, commercial, and utility scales. Localities that participate in the program and meet objective criteria have the opportunity to earn SolSmart Gold, Silver, or Bronze designation and national recognition.
“We are excited to work with UVA and the DMME to help more Virginia communities meet their clean energy goals through SolSmart,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation. “Even in the wake of new challenges created by COVID-19, local governments are looking to clean energy to renew their economies and create high-quality jobs in the years ahead. With Virginia now poised to be one of the leading markets for solar energy growth, these expert Advisors will be helping communities succeed.”
SolSmart Advisors Carrie Hearne, Solar Program Manager for DMME, and Elizabeth Marshall for the Virginia Solar Initiative at UVA will deliver research-based, industry leading best practices and technical support to help localities streamline their permitting, zoning, inspections, code needs, utility involvement and community engagement processes and earn designation. Improving local processes saves time and money for local government staff and encourages more community members to adopt solar energy.
Interested counties and municipalities should contact Elizabeth Marshall and Carrie Hearne by completing the Request for Consultation on the DMME’s website (https://dmme.virginia.gov/de/SolSmartConsultation/) by July 10, 2020.