Representatives from 25 cities around the nation recently gathered in Philadelphia for the 4th annual Solar America Cities meeting to share findings on emerging trends in urban energy use and to discuss solutions to local solar barriers, such as zoning, financing andunwieldy permitting processes.
At the conference, Department of Energy Acting UnderSecretary of Energy Dr. Arun Majumdar announced a Request forInformation (RFI) for a solar challenge specifically designed toaddress permitting issues in cities. The RFI will foster solutions tohelp eliminate barriers to solar market development, save customers time and money and accelerate the adoption of solar energy in communitiesnationwide.? ?The RFI focuses on four areas crucial to solar marketgrowth: standardizing permitting processes, improving interconnectionand net metering standards, increasing access to financing, andminimizing siting restrictions.
The challenge builds on the success of the Solar America Cities program in lowering solar energy costs, and supports the Department of Energy’s recently announced SunShot initiative to reduce the cost of solar energy by 75 percent by the end of thedecade. In 2007 and 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) designated25 major U.S. cities as Solar America Citiesand provided financial and technical assistance to help the citiesdevelop comprehensive approaches to increasing solar energy use. Sixteen of these designees received additional Recovery Act funding in 2009 for special projects that tackle specific barriers to urban solar energyuse. The unique federal-local partnerships have enabled DOE to identifybarriers to solar energy use in diverse locations and at various stagesof market development, and to collaboratively develop solutions to those barriers. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and the Solar AmericaCities program celebrated a local partnership success, flipping theswitch on a new 250 kilowatt solar PV system. Source: Submitted bySusan Carollo