Zionsville’s solar effort recognized by national program

Zionsville has received a bronze designation from the national SolSmart program for advancing solar energy growth, town officials announced Tuesday.

The designation recognizes Zionsville for taking steps to encourage solar energy and remove obstacles for solar development.

“SolSmart builds upon our commitment to sustainable practices and our first Climate Action Plan by helping us be ready to make solar an easier choice for our businesses and residents,” Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron said in a written statement. “Our zoning and planning team have been working hard to streamline the deployment of solar energy in town.”

SolSmart designees help solar companies reduce the cost of installations and pass savings on to consumers, according to a news release.

In order to receive a designation, cities, towns and counties make changes to their local processes to reduce the time and money it takes install a solar energy system. That includes evaluating permitting processes and planning and zoning procedures.

Zionsville reviewed zoning requirements and trained planning and zoning staff on best practices in planning and zoning for solar.

It posted an online checklist detailing the required steps and permitting process for small rooftop solar, along with a solar landing page on its town website with educational materials and resources.

The town also took part in the Boone and Hamilton Counties Solar Co-op, which is a community-wide group purchase program formed by Solar United Neighbors.

Multiple communities and counties in Indiana previously have been recognized by SolSmart, including Indianapolis and Carmel, which received silver designations.

More than 400 cities and counties nationwide have received the designation.

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