The City and County of Denver, Colorado has been recognized as a Solar Friendly Community under an innovative new program. It is the first municipality to earn this recognition through the program, which is designed to help lower the costs of solar energy.
Solar Friendly Communities is one of 22 teams across the country that received a Rooftop Solar Challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Energyâ€™s SunShot Initiative. The program is a collaboration with the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association and includes the American Solar Energy Society, the City and County of Denver, the Rocky Mountain Institute, Boulder County, and the cities of Fort Collins and Golden.
â€œWe are honored and delighted to be the first to earn this recognition for our efforts in making our city friendly to solar energy,â€ said Mayor Michael Hancock. â€œWe believe solar energy is an important part of our communityâ€™s future, and our hope is this recognition will lead to a variety of environmental and economic development benefits.â€
Cities and counties involved in the program can earn solar points by implementing suggested practices such as low costs, streamlined inspections, same-day permits, requirement transparency, and a high availability of educational materials. The highest score is 1600, and Denver scored 1275, earning the city a gold level recognition.
These requirements vary across Colorado cities and towns, so this â€œmenuâ€ of options and points aims to help local governments enact policies that are affordable and accommodating to their unique needs. As the process becomes more transparent and standardized, the hope is that demand will increase and more communities will be ready to make the switch.
It would be nice to see this concept spread across the country as one of many ways governments can incentivise clean energy investments.
Image CC licensed by SolarDave: Solar panels in Colorado