WEST PALM BEACH DESIGNATED "SOLSMART GOLD" FOR ADVANCING SOLAR ENERGY GROWTH
This designation recognizes the City of West Palm Beach for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (February 1, 2018)—The City of West Palm Beach is receiving a Gold designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar. This designation recognizes the City of West Palm Beach for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Gold designation is a signal that the City of West Palm Beach is “open for solar business.”
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 150 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
“The City of West Palm Beach is honored to receive the distinction of SolSmart Gold,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. “This distinction is another example that our City is taking innovative steps and proactive measures in the areas of sustainability and resiliency, as we work to protect our thriving City from environmental threats and ensure that it endures for future generations.”
“A SolSmart designation recognizes local governments for making it faster, easier, and cheaper to go solar,” said Sustainability Manager Penni Redford. “We have completed rigorous steps to earn a Gold designation. We are the first city in the state to have one-day solar permitting, and we are one of only three cities in Florida to have reached this level.”
As a SolSmart designee, the City of West Palm Beach is helping solar companies greatly reduce the cost of installations and pass on those savings to consumers. This allows even more local homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar. The actions the City of West Palm Beach has taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs. These actions also support Mayor Muoio’s vision of achieving 100% renewable energy for our community. Previously, Mayor made a commitment at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in support of the Paris Climate Accord to strive for 100% renewable energy for our community.
To receive SolSmart Gold designation, cities 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.
Specific actions the City of West Palm Beach has taken to achieve SolSmart Gold include:
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 either 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 cities and counties are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive this technical assistance. Interested communities can learn more at SolSmart.org.
To learn more, please visit the City of West Palm Beach Office of Sustainability web page at: http://wpb.org/Departments/Sustainability/Overview.
- · Allowing solar by-right and as an accessory use in all major zones and implementing any zoning ordinance adjustments;
· Providing cross‐training of inspection and permitting staff on solar PV via in‐person or online resources.
· Conducted review of state policies related to protecting rights of property owners to install solar and solar system owners’ right to sunlight on their property.
· Installed solar capacity on local facilities, and more.