Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments
The U.S. Department of Energy developed this comprehensive resource to assist local governments and stakeholders in building sustainable local solar markets. This second edition of the guide was updated to include new market developments and innovations for advancing local solar markets that have emerged since the first edition was released in 2009. This updated edition also contains the most recent lessons and successes from the original 25 Solar America Cities and other communities promoting solar energy. The guide introduces a range of policy and program options that have been successfully field tested in cities and counties around the country. The guide describes each policy or program, followed by more information on:
•Benefits: Identifies benefits from implementing the policy or program.
•Implementation Tips and Options: Outlines various tips and options for designing and implementing the policy or program.
•Examples: Highlights experiences from communities that have successfully implemented the policy or program.
•Additional References and Resources: Lists additional reports, references, and tools that offer more information on the topic, where applicable.
How to Use the Guide
This guide can help stimulate ideas or provide a framework for a comprehensive solar plan for a community. DOE recognizes that there is no one path to solar market development. This guide therefore introduces a range of policy and program options that can help a community build a local solar infrastructure. Communities can tailor their approach to fit their particular needs and market barriers.
Table of Contents
1.0 Organizing and Strategizing a Local Solar Effort
The first step toward increasing solar energy use is the most important one. Get organized by engaging stakeholders and assessing the potential for solar in the community.
2.0 Making Solar Affordable for Residents and Businesses
The right financial incentives and policies can stimulate demand for solar energy purchases in communities and drive private sector investment.
3.0 Updating and Enforcing Local Rules and Regulations
Make solar more accessible and reliable for residents and businesses by improving rules and regulations for installing solar energy systems.
4.0 Improving Utility Policies and Processes
Local utilities are important partners in efforts to increase solar energy use. Get a better understanding of how to influence utility policies that affect solar installations.
5.0 Creating Jobs and Supporting Economic Development
Identify opportunities to create green jobs all along the solar industry supply chain, from component manufacturing to installation and maintenance.
6.0 Educating and Empowering Potential Customers
Successfully engage the community and grow consumer awareness of solar energy technologies through outreach and education programs.
7.0 Leading by Example with Installations on Government Properties
Local governments can procure their own solar energy systems by utilizing innovative financing mechanisms that minimize or eliminate upfront costs.