Charlottesville is first in Virginia to earn national SolSmart designation
The City of Charlottesville has earned a national solar designation.
Charlottesville is the first locality in Virginia to earn the SolSmart Bronze designation, which recognizes communities for adopting programs and practices that make it faster, easier and cheaper for the community to grow solar energy. It is among the first 50 localities in the country to receive the designation, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.
Achieving the honor means the community is “open for solar business” and wants to attract solar industry investment and generate local jobs.
In order to be designated, a community must encourage solar development and the reduction of solar costs. Charlottesville earned credits for installing solar energy systems on several city facilities; hosting Solarize campaigns that offer community members cost savings on solar installations; and offering financial incentives for property owners that install solar energy systems in the city.
Charlottesville aims to earn the SolSmart Silver designation by the end of the summer. In order to rise to the next tier, the city will continue to encourage local solar development and reduce soft costs, such as clarifying zoning code and offering further staff trainings related to solar.
The city was previously recognized as one of the nearly 30 communities nationwide that committed to the SolSmart program as an “Early Adopter.”
In February, Charlottesville and Albemarle County were one of eleven host communities nationwide to be granted a program-funded SolSmart Advisor. The adviser has been working full-time to provide expertise and dedicated support to achieve SolSmart designation and to encourage solar energy growth locally.