on March 13, 2014 by Staff in Latest, Comments Off on Golden becomes Solar Friendly Community

Golden becomes Solar Friendly Community

The city of Golden has earned certification as a Solar Friendly Community for adopting leading best practices designed to make it faster, easier and more affordable for its residents to go solar.
Golden adopted enough of the solar streamlining recommendations to earn silver designation, and becomes the 13th Colorado community to be recognized since the program began in 2012.
The City will be honored at a regular City Council meeting March 13 with the presentation of a road sign and a plaque to leaders.

“Through the Solar Friendly Communities program, Golden has achieved a win-win-win for residents, businesses, and the City by streamlining the permitting process and reducing the overall costs of solar,” said Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan. “ With Golden’s goal to provide 20% of the city’s energy from renewable energy, this effort plays an important role in encouraging future solar investment.”

Solar Friendly Communities works to make it easier to install rooftop solar systems by recommending ways to streamline permitting, inspection and finance and to encourage more awareness of solar options. It was launched as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative to drive down the costs of solar energy. The program uses an easy-to-follow roadmap of 12 Best Practices (explained in detail at www.solarcommunities.org) and rewards communities for endorsing these practices.

Golden joins the City and County of Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, Fort Collins, Arvada, Nederland, Boulder County, Carbondale, Lafayette, Parker, Superior and the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department in earning Solar Friendly Communities certification. Together, the certified cities now represent more than 2 million Colorado residents.

Golden is being recognized for earning 1000 points out of a possible 1600 to qualify for Silver Level recognition. The town has worked on a variety of ways to make solar permitting easier including: posting requirements in an online checklist, allowing electronic permit submission, and allowing inspections of different aspects of a system to be done in one visit.  Golden also does a lot to educate its residents about solar energy options.

“Golden has been a partner in developing the Solar Friendly Communities program from the beginning and has provided the valuable perspective of a small city as we crafted a menu of options that would streamline permitting without creating problems for the city,” said Rebecca Cantwell, senior program director for Solar Friendly Communities. “One of the program’s most valuable benefits is now available to Golden residents — the Solar Friendly Communities Discount Program in which participating installers offer $500 discounts on rooftop systems to residents.”

While the costs of solar panels have dropped dramatically in recent years, the “soft costs” of solar including permitting and inspection now account for roughly 60 percent of the total price. By adopting policies that cut the time required to get rooftop solar systems installed, Golden is helping to cut the cost of the systems and making solar more affordable. With interest in solar growing, the streamlined processes will also help the city prepare for greater solar energy demand.

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