ROCKFORD (WREX) — The city of Rockford received a gold designation last week from the national SolSmart program for it’s solar energy growth.
SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.
The point-based program launched in 2016 and more than 200 cities, counties and towns have achieved the designation. Illinois has the most SolSmart designee’s in the nation and Rockford received the greatest amount of points out of any community in the state.
The designation recognizes Rockford for taking steps to encourage solar energy growth while removing obstacles to solar development.
As a SolSmart designee, the city says they’re greatly reducing the cost of installations and passing savings to customers. The city says it allows more homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar.
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. This includes evaluating local permitting processes, as well as planning and zoning procedures. SolSmart designee’s also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance to ensure solar energy generation is accessible to all.
Rockford was also presented with Special Recognition Awards by SolSmart, which celebrates communities that have earned at least 60% of the total points in SolSmart categories: permitting, inspection and community engagement.