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Hopkins, MN – The City of Hopkins is receiving a Bronze designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.
This designation recognizes the City for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Bronze designation is a signal that Hopkins is “open for solar business.”
SolSmart is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. More than 400 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
“The City of Hopkins has worked hard to reduce barriers and make solar energy attainable for our community,” said Management Analyst PeggySue Imihy Bean. “I am extremely proud of our new SolSmart Bronze designation and the steps we are taking to make Hopkins a more sustainable city.”
As a SolSmart designee, the City of Hopkins 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 the City 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.
Examples of actions taken to achieve the SolSmart Bronze designation include providing clear guidance on the City website on how to apply for solar permits, reducing solar permitting costs and allowing for solar in all zoning districts.
SolSmart uses objective criteria to award communities points based on the actions they take to reduce barriers to solar energy development. Communities that take sufficient action are designated either gold, silver, or bronze.
As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities achieve designation. All municipalities, counties, and regional organizations are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive this technical assistance. Learn more about the program at SolSmart.org.