County Recognized For Solar Energy Efforts

County Recognized For Solar Energy Efforts Click to Enlarge Photo: Stearns County

(KNSI) - Stearns County has been recognized for its efforts in advancing the growth of solar energy use.

The full news release from the county is below.

Stearns County received a Silver Designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.

SolSmart is a U.S. Department of Energy program that helps local communities develop solar energy and promote jobs and economic growth.

This designation recognizes Stearns County for its leadership and taking steps to encourage solar energy progress and removing obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Silver designation is a signal that Stearns County is “open for solar business”.

"This acknowledges our current practices of making the permit application process clear and easy to follow and providing online resources for local solar development," said Angie Berg, Environmental Services Land Use Division Supervisor. "With this designation we will have free access to technical staff who can help and guide us in this ever-changing industry. It will be very beneficial to have this resource, a free call to a team of experts who can answer any questions we may have in this area."

As a SolSmart designee, Stearns County is helping solar companies greatly reduce the cost of installations and pass those savings on to consumers. This allows even more local homes and businesses to obtain affordable, clean, and reliable electricity through solar. The actions Stearns County has taken will help encourage solar companies to do business in the area, driving economic development and creating local jobs.

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 designees also develop innovations in areas such as market development and finance.

SolSmart is led by the Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. More than 100 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.

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