Kane County Earns National Recognition For Solar-Power Initiatives

Kane County Earns National Recognition For Solar-Power Initiatives

Kane County government has earned a Bronze-level designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association. More than 100 cities, towns, and counties have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.

The program helps communities streamline government processes and implement measures to encourage solar development in order to receive SolSmart designation of Gold, Silver, or Bronze.

Kane County is the first SolSmart designated community in the Fox Valley region, and joins Will County and the cities of Chicago and Evanston as the fourth Illinois community to receive designation under the program. More than a dozen additional communities in the Chicago region are pursuing SolSmart designation as a cohort being coordinated by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus.

“Kane County’s leadership and commitment to renewable energy intersects with recent efforts in Illinois to lead in these areas, the most notable being the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act, which will bring over $100 million annually for solar development,” says Robert Nunamaker, executive board chairman of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus. “Participation in SolSmart better positions Kane County to take advantage of this investment and it marks the region as a friendly, cost-effective place to do solar business.”

Kane County’s commitment to community education and its partnership with the Fox Valley Sustainability Network are two reasons it has earned national recognition.

This designation recognizes the county for taking notable steps to encourage solar energy growth by removing obstacles to solar development and providing solar information to residents and businesses within its jurisdiction – all of which aligns with energy and sustainability goals from Kane County’s 2040 Plan.

Under the SolSmart program, communities receive technical assistance in the form of an independent evaluation of their local permitting processes and planning and zoning procedures to identify areas for improvement.

SolSmart also awards credit for engaging and educating local residents and businesses on solar energy, which is where Kane County earned a significant number of points due to its partnership with the Fox Valley Sustainability Network. This network hosted multiple solar-focused educational events over the past year, and leads a regional solar task force that continues to pursue opportunities for expediating local solar development.

All cities and counties in the U.S. are eligible to join the SolSmart program regardless of their size. Interested communities can learn more at SolSmart.org.

SOURCE: SolSmart news release

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