Kane County, Aurora Win SolSmart Awards for Advancing Solar Energy Growth
Kane County received a Bronze designation and the city of Aurora achieved a Gold designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.
Plaques representing those designations were presented Feb. 2 at Argonne National Laboratory, with Congressman Bill Foster and Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti in attendance.
The Bronze designation recognizes Kane County for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development while providing an implementation tool for the Kane County 2040 Energy Plan, the Kane County 2040 Plan and the Kane County Operational Sustainability Plan.
For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Bronze designation is a signal that Kane County is “open for solar business.”
SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. More than 180 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
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.
“Encouraging the installation of solar energy systems by streamlining the permitting process reduces the time and money costs our residents and businesses,” Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said. “Kane County is honored to have earned this designation. We will continue to make improvements to our processes and explore programs that encourage clean energy and energy efficiency.”
As a SolSmart designee, Kane County is helping solar companies reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to consumers. This allows even more local homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar.
The actions Kane County has taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs.
To receive designation, Kane County developed a Solar in Kane County webpage that provides solar companies a checklist detailing the solar permitting process with the intention to reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system; a Solar Statement expressing the county’s commitment to becoming a more solar-friendly community; as well as Solar Resources for the Community.
The Kane County Development Department has trained planning and permitting staff on best practices and continues to review solar permitting process fees of similar designees. Kane County co-hosted a Solar and Renewable Energy Forum with the Fox Valley Sustainability Network and continues to participate in the FVSN’s Energy Initiative.
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.
SOURCE: SolSmart, Kane County news releases