Over the past 15 years, technological developments have dramatically reduced the cost of installing solar photovoltaic systems in the United States, and large scale solar projects have experienced a new surge in market share. However, despite high demand for utility-scale solar, few local governments have pursued utility-scale solar projects. In order to better understand and address this disparity, ICMA is partnering with the American Planning Association to launch a new program, Solar@Scale. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the program aims to help cities, counties, and special districts understand and realize the potential benefits of large-scale solar development.
How Solar@Scale Helps Your Community
Throughout the next few months, ICMA and APA will assemble stakeholders in both the private and public sector to identify strategies for overcoming common local barriers to the development of large scale solar in communities of all sizes across the United States. The Solar@Scale team will then translate these strategies into easily digestible trainings, webinars, and workshops alongside a guidebook that outlines scalable procedures and tools for planners and local officials. Over the next few years, the team aims to train over 1,000 local government officials on how they can take advantage of opportunities in context-sensitive ways that will make large-scale solar development on private sites easier.
Solar@Scale builds off recent articles in Planning (“Are You Solar Ready?”) and PAS Memo (“Planning for Utility-Scale Solar Energy Facilities”), as well as the Solar Outreach Partnership, a previous DOE-funded collaboration between APA and ICMA that provided extensive educational materials and opportunities to help cities and counties grow local solar markets. The program also builds off other DOE-funded programs managed by ICMA including the SolSmart program, which works to help local governments reduce soft cost barriers to entering the solar market, and the Solar In Your Community Challenge designed to expand solar access to low and moderate income households.