Local governments played a vital role in the implementation of the solar growth model. They establish regulations and procedures that impact the pace and cost of solar installations. This includes the issuance of building permits, which can expedite or stall rooftop solar projects. Planning and zoning rules also determine the installation of solar projects within a community.
Partnerships Between Solar Companies and Local Governments:
According to this model, establishing partnerships between solar companies and local governments begins with recognizing common objectives. Both parties share an interest in ensuring a well-constructed and compliant solar growth model while streamlining the approval process to save time and resources.
In Washington State, Thurston County, along with cities like Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey, published a Climate Mitigation Plan to reduce emissions. Michigan City, Indiana, partnered with the local NAACP to create the Soul Power program, training local residents for solar jobs, with a focus on communities of color and low-income groups. Meanwhile, the town of Milton, Massachusetts is exploring a solar microgrid to power essential facilities, offering backup power during grid failures.
Collaborative partnerships between the solar industry and local governments is beneficial for both sides. They can help communities achieve sustainability, resilience, and equity objectives. Moreover, solar companies gain local expertise, expand their customer base, and contribute to new installations. Instead of viewing local governments as obstacles, they should be seen as major allies in the transition to clean energy.