Earlier this month, the Solar@Scale webinar series wrapped its last of nine webinars that began in January 2022. The webinars focused on how local government policies and actions affect large-scale solar development outcomes. The webinar series followed the publication of the Solar@Scale guidebook in fall 2021 and is presented by ICMA and the American Planning Association (APA), supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO).
The webinar series and the guidebook serve to help local government practitioners–including planners, economic development professionals, local government managers, and elected and appointed officials—make decisions that improve large-scale solar development outcomes. The guidebook is designed to allow users to apply its key points in a way that applies to their community, as there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to large-scale solar development. The accompanying webinar series follows this same structure with its related, but semi-independent, webinars that follow the eight modules in the guidebook.
The webinar series begins with an overview of the key themes of the guidebook, what to expect in future episodes, and how to utilize the resource in your community. The following one-hour long webinars feature topics from understanding the market for large-scale solar development, to improving land-use decision-making, to zoning and community planning for large-scale solar. Each webinar includes real-world community examples and takeaways from a variety of speakers who work in local government and the solar industry across the nation. Both the webinar series recordings and the guidebook are available for free on ICMA's website.
Solar@Scale Webinar Series
Session 1: Solar@Scale Guidebook Overview. An introduction to the Solar@Scale guidebook designed to help local government practitioners make decisions that improve large-scale solar development outcomes.
Session 2: Defining Large-Scale Solar Development. Explore the concept of large-scale solar development by unpacking the foundational characteristics of large-scale solar energy facilities and their development, highlighting how project context affects perceptions of project scale, and summarizing the most significant potential benefits and tradeoffs of large-scale solar projects for local jurisdictions.
Session 3: Understanding the Market for Large-Scale Solar Development. The most significant trends driving national demand for large-scale solar development, the influence of distinct actors on demand in a particular jurisdiction, and how different levels of government exercise authority over proposed projects.
Session 4: Community Planning for Large-Scale Solar Development. Five steps local jurisdictions can take to define and integrate a vision and policy implementation for large-scale solar development into local plans.
Session 5: Zoning for Large-Scale Solar Development. The importance of defining key terms, specifying permissible uses, and establishing appropriate standards and development charges for large-scale solar development.
Session 6: Improving Land-Use Decision-Making for Large-Scale Solar Development. Steps officials can take to improve applicant submissions and review processes, secure community benefits through agreements and written decisions, and ensure compliance through inspections.
Session 7: Hosting Large-Scale Solar Development Projects. Key steps for hosting large-scale solar development projects on local-government-owned land: identifying project goals, selecting potential sites, and choosing development partners.
Session 8: Assisting Large-Scale Solar Development. How local technical assistance initiatives can improve large-scale solar development outcomes and how local jurisdictions may be able to use financial assistance programs to facilitate projects that help meet specific local objectives.
Session 9: Maximizing Success. The importance of monitoring and evaluating the performance of local plans, programs, and policies that affect large-scale solar development; aligning local land-use and regional utility plans; enhancing resilience; and preparing for innovation in solar technologies.
Download the Solar@Scale guidebook.
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