Cleveland is receiving a Bronze designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier and more affordable for homes and businesses in the city to go solar.
“When I founded the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 initiative I saw an opportunity to prepare Cleveland for the future and to build a sustainable economy,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Solar energy is a big part of that vision –transitioning to cleaner energy sources is good for our economy, our environment, and our people.”
This designation recognizes Cleveland for taking steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Bronze designation is a signal that Cleveland is “open for solar business.”
As a SolSmart designee, Cleveland is helping solar companies reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to consumers. This allows even more homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar. The actions Cleveland has taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs.
To help achieve SolSmart designation, the City developed a “Cleveland Solar Guide” that lays out the process for installing solar panels on homes or businesses. It clarifies the City’s permitting, inspection, and interconnection requirements for installers, while also providing additional guidance for consumers looking to go solar. A number of City departments collaborated on this project, including the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Building and Housing, Cleveland Public Power, and City Planning.
“Supporting solar is a win-win-win for Cleveland,” said Matt Gray, Chief of Sustainability. “It saves people money on their electricity bills, it creates good local jobs, and it cleans our air and water. We have more than 150 solar installations (or 8 Megawatts) in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, and we want to see that number grow rapidly.”
SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. This includes evaluating local permitting processes, as well as planning and zoning procedures. SolSmart designees also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance.
SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. More than 100 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.