Perhaps you’ve read our recent blog post about the benefits a city can receive from a decision to go solar. If so, you might be wondering what are the appropriate courses of action a city can take in order to effectively implement solar and really reap the rewards? Below, we’ll explore a variety of ways, big and small, in which a city can put its energies toward producing some new solar energy.
#1 - Goals
Concrete goals and targets have long been a key component of achievement for everyone striving to improve, whether it be on an individual level or a group basis. A commitment to solar energy is no different. Ambitious, but realistic, goals with exact figures and targets can signal real desire to cultivate a city operating on a foundation of sustainable, renewable energy projects. The aims can be exclusively solar-related, or they can be even broader, encompassing all forms of renewable energy. A real dedication to these goals is an important part of any solar journey.
A good way to highlight a commitment to these goals, and in turn solar, is to install solar panels on public buildings. The sight of solar projects taking place in public spaces, along with panels appearing on public buildings, is the best indicator of a city taking its solar goals seriously.
#2 - Financing
Of course, any decision to push for solar on a citywide scale will require the provision of financing and access for those involved in the effort to go renewable. A city going solar requires investment in solar projects on residential, commercial, and municipal levels, as well as a desire to integrate community solar projects. Local and state governments, working with financial institutions, will seek to find financing options for their own projects, alongside loan structures allowing residential and commercial projects around the city to thrive. Cities can also seek out reputable local solar panel installers to agree some kind of arrangement which will be beneficial for all parties, and provide wider solar access in the locality.
#3 - Community
As mentioned above, community solar projects can be a great way to really push for a solar identity in a city. These kinds of projects can allow greater access and financial freedom for those who may be unable to adopt renewable energy practices on an individual level, due to monetary or spatial constraints or any other factor. Across the country, community solar projects have been growing rapidly in popularity, and many states have already drafted, or are in the process of drafting, the necessary legislation to make community solar a real viable option for their residents. To learn more about community solar, check out our community solar section on the YSG website, or our recent blog post highlighting some key aspects of community solar.
#4 - Obstructions
Bureaucratic issues concerning zoning, permitting and other regulatory stumbling blocks can be a real hindrance to a smooth citywide push toward solar. Indeed, it’s not hardware or installation costs that make up the majority of a solar system’s overall price, but instead the costs associated with processes like zoning and permitting. If local and state governments can lay out a clear pathway to completed solar installations, with fewer restrictive regulatory barriers, lower fees and real clarity around the rules, then this could help to streamline the process. In fact, it’s possible to go a step further, including regulations to ensure that newly built properties are “solar ready”, meaning they’re capable of housing a solar installation with minimal fuss.
From Germany to the US, innovative designers and developers have found ways to implement solar into the fabric of their cities. Let’s hope that this trend can continue worldwide as solar technology advances even further.