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Solar powering your community: a guide for local governments


This guide, Solar powering your community: a guide for local governments, can be used to stimulate ideas or as a framework for a comprehensive solar plan for a community.

Local governments are in a unique position to remove many of the barriers to widespread solar energy adoption and make solar energy more affordable and accessible for their residents and businesses. These barriers include complicated procedures for permitting and connecting systems to the grid, financing challenges, a lack of awareness of solar energy solutions among key decision makers, and a lack of trained installation contractors.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) designed this guide to assist local government officials and stakeholders in designing and implementing strategic local solar plans. The 2010 edition contains the most recent lessons and successes from the 25 Solar America Cities and other communities promoting solar energy.

Because DOE recognizes that there is no one path to solar market development, this guide introduces a range of policy and program options that can help a community build a local solar infrastructure. Communities do not need to undertake all of these activities; instead, each community should tailor its approach to fit its particular needs and market barriers.

Each section of the guide is divided into topic areas—typically within the jurisdiction of local governments—that have been integral in creating and supporting local solar markets. Each topic area begins with an introduction that describes the policy or program and states its purpose followed by more information on:

  • benefits from implementing the policy or program;
  • tips and options for designing and implementing the policy or program;
  • examples that highlight experiences from communities that have successfully implemented the policy or program; and
  • additional reports, references, and tools that offer more information on the topic, where applicable.

Read Solar powering your community: a guide for local governments.