SolarOPs Publications

Resources presented by the SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership

The SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership produced briefing papers, case studies, technical reports, fact sheets, how-to guides, and other resources for local governments seeking to make solar a mainstream energy source.

Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments

This guide can help stimulate ideas or provide a framework for a comprehensive solar plan for a community. It introduces a range of policy and program options that can help a community build a local solar infrastructure. Download

Solar Briefing Papers

The American Planning Association has prepared a series of briefing papers and an introductory podcast designed to help planners and public officials understand some key issues in planning for solar energy use. These and other resources can be accessed at on the APA website.

Survey Results

The 2016 ICMA Solar Survey covers challenges to solar energy development, local initiatives, permitting and interconnection, planning, and financing options. View the report.

Case Studies 

Bring Solar to Your Community: Themes, Insights, and Summaries from 27 Case Studies: Distills themes and insights of roof-top solar PV deployment gained from 27 case studies of local government efforts regarding policies, planning, investments, financing mechanisms, partnerships, and education. 

Profiles in Regional Solar Planning: A Handbook and Resource Guide: Prepared by the National Association of Regional Councils, this is a resource for regional council directors and their energy, sustainability, and environmental planners, as well as the local elected officials who govern the regional councils, to learn how regional planning organizations can play a key role in moving solar energy development forward. By focusing on case studies and regionally specific tools, the guide seeks to be a practical and applicable resource.

Mid-America Regional Council: Solar Ready KC Initiative

Solarize Case Study

Lenox, Massachusetts Solar Case Study

Santa Barbara, California Solar Case Study

Aurora, Colorado Solar Case Study

Park City, Utah Solar Case Study

Western Riverside Council of Governments Regional PACE Program

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments: Clean Energy Collaborative Procurement Initiative

Long Island Unified Solar Permitting Initiative: Suffolk & Nassau County Planning Commission

Pima Association of Governments: Regional Solar Plan Case Study

Denver Regional Council of Governments: Solar Map Project Case Study

Merrimack Valley Regional Commission: Clean Energy Action Plan Case Study

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission: Alternative Energy Ordinance

What is the Value of Solar: Austin, TX Case Study

Solar in Small Communities: River Falls, WI Case Study

Solar in Small Communities: Columbia, MO Case Study

Solar in Small Communities: Gaston County, NC Case Study 

Solar Case Study: Asheville, NC

Solar Case Study: Dubuque, IA

Solar Case Study: El Paso, TX

Solar Case Study: Fort Collins, CO

Solar Case Study: Franklin, TN

Solar Case Study: Gainesville, FL

Solar Case Study: Knoxville, TN

Solar Case Study: Polk County, FL

Solar Case Study: Prince George's County, MD

Solar Case Study: Reno, NV

Solar Case Study: Summit County, UT

Solar Case Study: Beaverton, OR

Solar Case Study: Barnstable, MA

Solar Case Study: Lancaster, CA

Solar Case Study: Chapel Hill, NC

Solar Case Study: Berea, KY

Solar Case Study: Cincinnati, OH

Solar Case Study: Galena, IL

Solar Case Study: Milwaukee, WI

Solar Case Study: Nashville, TN

Solar Case Study: Richmond, CA

Solar Case Study: Solar Ready II

Solar Case Study: Solarize Asheville

Solar Case Study: Ventura, CA

Solarize Frederick County, Maryland

SolarShares: Expanding Access to Solar Power

Minimizing Overlap in PV System Approval Processes: Case Studies & Analysis

Harmonizing Solar PV Permitting Interconnection in Santa Clara, CA

Salt River Project: Integrating Community Solar PV into Green Power

Harmonizing Interconnection and Permitting Processes: Vermont Public Service Board

Technical Reports

Rethinking Standby & Fixed Cost Charges

Renewable Energy Tariffs for Large Utility Customers

Solar in Remote Applications in the U.S.

Aggregate Net Metering: Opportunities for Local Governments

U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013

Project Permit: Best Practices in Solar Permitting with VoteSolar

Model Rules for Shared Renewable Energy Programs

Unlocking DG Value: A PURPA-Based Approach to Promoting DG Growth

Integrated Distribution Planning Concept Paper: A Proactive Approach for Accommodating High Penetrations of Distributed Generation Resources

Blueprint for the Development of Distributed Generation in California

12,000 MW of Renewable Distributed Generation by 2020: Benefits, Costs, & Policy Implications

The Intersection of Net Metering & Retail Choice: An Overview of Policy, Practice & Issues

Field Inspection Guidelines for Solar PV Systems 2010

Property Taxes and Solar PV Systems

Model Interconnection Procedures

Expedited Permit Process for PV Systems

Sharing Success: Emerging Approaches to Efficient Rooftop Solar Permitting

2009 Model Net Metering Rules (IREC)

A Comprehensive Review of Solar Access Law in the United States

Model Inspection Checklist for Rooftop PV Systems

Fact Sheets

Making the Case for Solar Fact Sheet

Working with Stakeholders Fact Sheet

Integrating Solar Fact Sheet

Training and Certification Fact Sheet

Solar Mapping Fact Sheet

Streamline Permitting & Inspection Processes Fact Sheet

Regional PACE Program Fact Sheet

Collaborative Procurement Fact Sheet

Community Choice Aggregation Fact Sheet

Community Shared Solar: Diverse Approaches for a Common Goal

Local Governments and Bulk Solar Purchasing Fact Sheet

Solar in Small Communities

Solar Myths Fact Sheet

Solar PV Emergency & Resilience Planning Fact Sheet

The State of the Solar Industry Fact Sheet

Solar Accounting Fact Sheet

Solar and Grid Stability Fact Sheet

Solar as a Revenue Generator Fact Sheet

Leasing Municipal and Private Property for Solar Fact Sheet

Solar Myths and the Costs of Going Solar Fact Sheet

Solar Myths & Misconceptions II Fact Sheet

Solar Crowdfunding Fact Sheet

Steps to a Successful Solar RFP Fact Sheet

Mt Pleasant Solar Co-op Fact Sheet

Rooftop Solar PV and Firefighter Safety

Solar PV and Glare

Integrating Solar PV into Energy Services Performance Contracts

Commercial PACE Financing Factsheet

HOA Infographic

Emerging Approaches to Efficient Rooftop Solar Permitting: A Summary

The Role of Municipal Utilities in Driving Solar Deployment

Solarize Programs: North Carolina

Residential Solar Permitting Best Practices Explained

Simplifying the Solar Permitting Best Practices: The Importance of Consistency

Solar on Farms

Planning for Solar Energy Quicknotes

How-To Guides

Solar Guidebook for New Jersey Municipalities

A Residential Customer Guide to Going Solar: Duke Energy Carolinas Version

Utility Community Solar Handbook

A Regulator's Guidebook: Calculating the Benefits and Costs of Distributed Solar Generation

A Guide to Preparing Solar Permitting Checklists

Community Renewables Model Program Rules

Connecting to the Grid Guide 6th Edition

Solar Powering Your Community

Profiles in Regional Solar Planning: A Handbook and Resource Guide

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Encouraging Solar Development through Community Association Policies and Processes

Local Lending for Solar PV

Installing Solar Panels on Historic Buildings

The Solarize Guidebook

Solar Ready Buildings Planning Guide

Bring Solar to Your Community: Themes, Summaries and Insights from 27 Case Studies

Solar Readiness

How-to Guide: Solar-Ready Buildings Planning Guide

This National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) planning guide presents detailed guidelines on designing solar-ready buildings with minimized costs and maximized energy potential.

PAS Essential Info Packet

This PAS Essential Info Packet brings together articles and guidebooks, comprehensive plan sections, and an extensive collection of sample ordinances covering solar access, solar energy systems, and more.

Planning for Solar Energy Quicknotes

Public officials and engaged citizens have many opportunities throughout the planning process to help support and advance solar energy initiatives in their communities. 

Sample Government Document: Oro Valley (AZ) Solar Residential Permitting Ordinance

This Oro Valley ordinance requiring installation of solar-ready measures in new residential homes demonstrates how to enable solar-ready designs through effective policy and legislation.

Solar Energy Education & Training Best Practices: The Series

IREC assembled some of the best experts in the country on solar training, education, and workforce development to create this compendium of Best Practices.  The documents were thoughtfully designed to give solar instructors the right tools for the job of training a highly skilled, globally competitive solar energy workforce for the 21st Century. This suite of Best Practices documents builds on IREC’s earlier versions of Best Practices from 2008 and 2010.

Campaign Organizing

How-to Guide: Solarize Guidebook  

The NREL’s “Solarize Guidebook” acts as roadmap for project planners and solar advocates trying to jump-start their own successful Solarize campaigns.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Encouraging Solar Development through Community Association Policies and Processes

This guide discusses the advantages of solar energy and examines the elements of state solar rights provisions designed to protect homeowner access to these benefits. It presents a number of recommendations associations can use to help bring solar to their communities.

Local Lending for Solar PV

This guide aims to assist local governments in engaging lending institutions on financing residential and small commercial solar PV projects to increase the adoption of solar power in their communities.

Property Taxes and Solar PV Systems

This report is intended as a resource for industry stakeholders, property owners, and state adn local government officials involved in the administration of property taxes and details current state practices associated with the assessment and taxation of PV equipment.

Zoning Codes

Technical Report:The Pennsylvania Model Ordinance  

The Pennsylvania Model Ordinance (found on page 12 of the pdf linked below) provides a model for local governments establishing reasonable standards in their development of small-scale solar. These standards center on permitting, height restrictions, and design and installation requirements.

Technical Report: The Massachusetts Model Zoning Bylaw

The Massachusetts Model Zoning Bylaw sets forth a framework for standards facilitating the development of large-scale solar, which typically include requirements concerning primary use, height limits, lot coverage, setback, and fencing and enclosure.

Installing Solar Panels on Historic Buildings

This guide provides an explanation of solar energy technology, descriptions of the current regulatory context governing the use of solar panels on historic properties at the state and local level, and proposes regulatory solutions that take into consideration the value of both historic and energy resources.

Solar Access

Technical Report: A Comprehensive Review of Solar Access Law in the United States

This guide from Solar America Board of Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) provides a comprehensive review of solar access laws in the US, as well as a model statute and ordinance (page 12), both of which serve to help local governments in drafting their own solar access laws.

Expedited Permitting

Technical Report: Sharing Success: Emerging Approaches to Efficient Rooftop Solar Permitting

 This IREC report examines ways for both local governments and solar energy system installers to mitigate costs associated with the solar permitting process, focusing on three main areas: the pre-application period, application submittal and review, and inspections. The report also contains specific examples of legislation designed to streamline solar permitting.

Technical Report: Expedited Permit Process for PV Systems

In this report, Solar ABCs presents its recommendations to local governments concerning the expedited permit process for small-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems and provides step-by-step guidelines explaining how to effectuate the necessary adjustments.

Sample Government Document: Solar PV Installation Standard, Philadelphia Dept. of Licenses and Inspections Permit Services Division

Philadelphia’s prescriptive path solution to solar permitting allows for certain solar electric projects to be approved with only an electrical permit (without requiring a building permit).

Website: Solar Panel Permits Webpage

Breckenridge (CO) has taken advantage of electronic materials, standardized permit requirements, and utilization of standard certifications to offer a short turn-around for solar permits, all of which is clearly communicated on their website.

Net Metering and Interconnection

Website: Freeing the Grid

Freeing the Grid is an organization that highlights “best practices” for net-metering and interconnection, while grading each state in detail on their respective policies.

Technical Report: Net Metering Model Rules

This IREC report presents the most effective net-metering policies with a focus on the size of systems eligible for net metering, program capacity caps, and treatment of annual excess generation.

Solar Permitting, Inspection and Interconnection Toolkit

This toolkit provides clear, efficient and cost effective ways to simplify and streamline solar permitting, inspection and interconnection (PII) procedures.  The toolkit is intended to provide readers with many of the key resources necessary to understand both the basics of PII practices and some of the important nuances that must be considered when promoting or pursuing associated policies or other related activities.

State-Specific Solar Policies

Website: DSIRE Solar

DSIRE Solar offers a wealth of information, data, and analysis concerning each state’s solar energy policies.

EERE Useful links

Website: SunShot Resource Center 

EERE Energy Basics

DOE Energy Savers

Solar Multimedia

EERE Videos

For more information, bitis DOE"s Solar Outreach Partnership page and the Solar Energy topic.


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