Atlanta is a national leader in advancing solar energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
And because of its actions to attract solar business and solar industry investment, as well as generate economic development and local jobs, The U.S. Department of Energy named the City of Atlanta as a SolSmart Gold designee.
SolSmart is a national designation and technical assistance program that recognizes leading solar communities and empowers additional communities to expand their local solar markets. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, the program aims to cut red tape, drive greater solar deployment and make it possible for more American homes and businesses to access solar energy. Through the SunShot Initative, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity.
“The City of Atlanta is proud to receive the SolSmart Gold designation and be recognized nationally for adopting programs and practices that make it faster, easier and cheaper for everyone to go solar,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “Solar energy is the path forward for renewables in Atlanta, and we are committed to implementing programs and establishing policy which promote solar energy growth.”
To achieve designation, the City took a series of steps to reduce costs associated with solar planning and zoning; permitting; financing; customer acquisition; and installation labor. These costs represent nearly two-thirds of the total price of an installed residential system, and reducing such expenses leads to savings to consumers.
The City also recently launched the “Solar for All” initiative to provide solar power as an alternative energy source for the community of Atlanta.
“By actively engaging with SolSmart’s technical assistance program, we will address local barriers associated with access to solar energy which will help foster the growth of strong local solar markets,” said Stephanie Stuckey, chief resilience officer for the City of Atlanta. “We look forward to this vital resource and partnership.”
The SolSmart designation team, led by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), evaluates communities and awards them points based on the actions they take to reduce soft costs and other barriers to solar. Communities that take sufficient action are designed either gold, silver, or bronze. To date, 58 communities have achieved one of the three designations.