EAST LANSING, Mich. — The City of East Lansing has received a Gold designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.
This designation recognizes the City of East Lansing for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Gold designation is a signal that the City of East Lansing is “open for solar business.”
“Increasing renewable energy, with an ultimate goal of converting the City’s energy consumption to 100 percent clean energy, has been a part of the East Lansing City Council’s Strategic Priorities for several years,” said Environmental Services Administrator Cathy DeShambo. “This designation recognizes the work that has been done towards that goal and is the result of a tremendous amount of collaboration between staff members within the East Lansing Department of Public Works and East Lansing Department of Planning, Building & Development.”
SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. More than 300 cities, counties and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
To receive designation, cities and counties make changes to their local processes as well as planning and zoning procedures. SolSmart designees also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance.
Locally, in East Lansing, City staff established a three-day turn around for small rooftop solar permitting, demonstrated that residential permit fees for solar PV are less than $400, helped launch a utility-provided community solar program, conducted a feasibility analysis for solar PV installations at City-owned facilities, posted an online checklist detailing the required permits and steps of the City’s permitting process for small rooftop solar PV, trained inspection staff on best practices for permitting and inspecting solar PV and/or solar and storage systems, engaged the Lansing Board of Water & Light in discussions about community or shared solar programs, demonstrated local government support for local solar projects and more.
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 action are designated either Gold, Silver or Bronze. As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provide no-cost technical assistance to help communities achieve designation. All cities and counties are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive this technical assistance. Visit SolSmart.org to learn more about SolSmart.