Solar Ready Regions

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Solar Ready II (SRII) is a partnership of the National Association of Regional Councils, Mid-America Regional Council, and Meister Consultants Group. SRII uses the broad impact and influence of ten regional councils to provide direct assistance to local governments, helping them implement best management practices (BMPs) to reduce soft costs and measurably improve solar market conditions. SRII designed the BMPs to be flexible and scalable, which allows them to be customized to meet each local governments’ preferences and needs; and effectively implemented in nascent, emerging, and established solar markets across the country. SRII is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge grant.

Click HERE to view the Solar Ready II Final Report and learn about the team’s national and regional impacts, accomplishments, and lessons learned over the 30-month project period.

Solar Ready II Regional Partners

Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Maricopa Association of Governments Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Mid-America Regional Council North Central Texas Council of Governments Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council

Solar Ready II employs a regional approach on a national scale to drive local results. SRII has equipped the ten regional councils with resources and technical expertise, which has transformed them into “solar champions” in many nascent solar markets. Regional coordination is creating consistent policies, which are leading to favorable solar market conditions, and ultimately reducing soft costs for 276 local governments and nearly 23 million people across thirteen states and the District of Columbia. Click on each of the regions to learn more about their individual SRII projects.

 

Solar Ready II Accomplishments

SRII has helped slashed permitting and approval times in over 70 jurisdictions across the country. Streamlined permitting initiatives are estimated to save just over $1,000 per installed PV system in those jurisdictions. In New York alone, SRII initiatives are estimated to have saved $500,000 in soft costs to-date.

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SRII has helped slashed permitting and approval times in over 70 jurisdictions across the country. Streamlined permitting initiatives are estimated to save just over $1,000 per installed PV system in those jurisdictions. In New York alone, SRII initiatives are estimated to have saved $500,000 in soft costs to-date.

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission developed solar zoning guidance documents and technical assistance program for local governments.

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The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission developed solar zoning guidance documents and technical assistance program for local governments.

The Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board has fostered the adoption of unified solar permit in 31 jurisdictions. Consumer-facing Solarize programs have installed over 1 MW of capacity in region during grant term.

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The Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board has fostered the adoption of unified solar permit in 31 jurisdictions. Consumer-facing Solarize programs have installed over 1 MW of capacity in region during grant term.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments assisted in the development of ten solar co-ops and Solarize programs throughout the Greater Washington, D.C. area.

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The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments assisted in the development of ten solar co-ops and Solarize programs throughout the Greater Washington, D.C. area.

The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council hosted the first regional energy summit in May 2015 and fostered adoption of solar landing pages in many jurisdictions.

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The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council hosted the first regional energy summit in May 2015 and fostered adoption of solar landing pages in many jurisdictions.

The combined efforts of 26 AHJ in two states has led to 40 BMP implementations throughout the Mid-America Regional Council region – addressing solar in zoning codes, developing solar ready guidelines, permit checklists and providing centralized information sources.

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The combined efforts of 26 AHJ in two states has led to 40 BMP implementations throughout the Mid-America Regional Council region – addressing solar in zoning codes, developing solar ready guidelines, permit checklists and providing centralized information sources.

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission has provided in-depth training for local permitting and zoning officials on solar industry and hosted first group-purchase market development effort of its kind leading to 30 kW of installed capacity additions.

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The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission has provided in-depth training for local permitting and zoning officials on solar industry and hosted first group-purchase market development effort of its kind leading to 30 kW of installed capacity additions.

Solar Ready II has helped launch the first community driven solarize program in the state of Florida and 3 other solarize programs in 5 states. SRII Solarize initiatives are expected to result in over 4 MW of new solar PV installations across four RPCs.

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Solar Ready II has helped launch the first community driven solarize program in the state of Florida and 3 other solarize programs in 5 states. SRII Solarize initiatives are expected to result in over 4 MW of new solar PV installations across four RPCs.

The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments successfully launched a solar mapping platform for outreach and education across member-jurisdictions, with over 4300 views since March 2015. Hosted two solar summits, focused on finance and policy drawing over 100 regional stakeholders.

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The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments successfully launched a solar mapping platform for outreach and education across member-jurisdictions, with over 4300 views since March 2015. Hosted two solar summits, focused on finance and policy drawing over 100 regional stakeholders.

The Mid-America Regional Council has created a Solar Ready Community designation program, where a third of the participating AHJ have applied and received recognition.

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The Mid-America Regional Council has created a Solar Ready Community designation program, where a third of the participating AHJ have applied and received recognition.

Eight jurisdictions have worked directly with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council to implement solar ready construction guidelines, permitting checklists and conduct analyses of their permitting process to improve procedures.

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Eight jurisdictions have worked directly with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council to implement solar ready construction guidelines, permitting checklists and conduct analyses of their permitting process to improve procedures.

 

Best Management Practices

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Solar Ready II BMP Overview

The best management practices displayed on the matrix are aimed at assisting the Solar Ready II team’s regional councils and their local governments who are implementing solar energy BMPs. By streamlining permit processes, updating planning and zoning codes, improving standards for connecting solar power to the electric grid, and increasing access to financing, teams will clear a path for rapid expansion of solar energy and serve as models for other communities across the nation.

 

Top BMPs Adopted

 

 

 

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Solar Ready II Case Study

Read about the impacts of Solar Ready II in this case study produced by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership. The case study discusses each of the solar best management practices being implemented by each regional councils’ local governments and the major accomplishments of the project to date. Click HERE to download the case study.

Financing

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Solar Ready II Financial Options Analysis

The Solar Ready II regional councils’ member jurisdictions have a great variety in market conditions. In some jurisdictions, notably in the areas served by CNYRPDB, DVRPC, MWCOG, and MAG, strong state incentives and high electricity costs make solar an attractive investment. In other areas, such as the areas served by OKI, NIRPC, SWFRPC, and TBRPC, the financial outcomes of solar are less attractive. The difference in project economics is driven in part by differences in solar insolation values and by differences in state incentives in the form or rebates, tax credits, and sales and property tax exemptions. In all cases, soft cost reduction efforts through solar best practices would have a profound impact on the financial attractiveness of solar. In jurisdictions with low energy costs or limited state support, a $0.70/W decrease in the price of solar through soft cost reductions makes the difference between uneconomical project and a profitable one. In states with high energy costs and strong state incentives, reduced soft costs make the financial picture even more compelling and turn solar into a profitable investment for homeowners.

 

 

Additional Resources

Contact Information

Email Cameron Herbolsheimer or call 202.618.5690

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