Edina has received a “gold” designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier and more affordable for homes and businesses to use solar energy. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Gold designation is a signal that Edina is “open for solar business.”
Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association. More than 200 cities, counties and small towns have achieved SolSmart designations since the program launched in 2016. Edina is the third city in the metro to receive this designation, after Minneapolis and St. Paul.
“City staff have worked for over a year and took a critical eye to our processes and ordinances. We are proud to encourage solar in our community and look forward to future innovation in renewable technologies,” said City Management Fellow Casey Casella, who worked on the application for the designation.
As a SolSmart designee, Edina helps solar companies greatly reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to consumers. This allows even more local homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean and reliable electricity through solar. The actions Edina has taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs.
“This program provides cost-free assistance to any community that wants to be a solar-ready community, integrating best practices in permitting, planning, zoning construction codes, solar rights, utility engagement, marketing development and finance,” said SolSmart Adviser Cameran Bailey. “If you’re a resident or business in Edina, your city has a clearly defined process that tells you how you can get all your permits issued and where you can look to get all your installers that are certified and learn more about what are your rights.”
To receive designation, cities and counties make changes to their local processes to reduce the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Communities that take sufficient actions are designated gold, silver or bronze.