Solar power is on the rise in the U.S. — and in Asheville.
Here are steps the City is taking
to encourage solar energy.
While solar makes up about 2 percent of the energy generated nationwide, the City of Asheville is working to remove barriers to this sustainable energy source.
In the past year, the City’s Office of Sustainability trained the Development Services Department on how to permit and inspect solar systems. DSD has committed to streamlining permits of residential solar systems to a maximum of three business days. The Office of Sustainability also trained our first responders on how to safely handle solar panels they may encounter during structure fires.
These kinds of efforts earned City of Asheville a Gold designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.
The designation recognizes Asheville for taking steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Gold designation is a signal that the City of Asheville is “open for solar business.”
“This designation demonstrates the City’s commitment to support a clean energy economy and transition to a clean energy future, which is one of the goals of the Energy Innovation Task Force,” said Bridget Herring, Energy Program Coordinator for the City’s Office of Sustainability. “In an environment where state law restricts the financing mechanisms for renewable energy it is important that the City does what it can to remove barriers and costs to such installations. The SolSmart designation comes at an opportune time as state regulators recently approved Duke Energy’s solar energy rebate program.”
SolSmart is led by The Solar Foundation and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. Some 200 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
About the Office of Sustainability
The Office of Sustainability works with City departments to integrate sustainable design, technology and practice into municipal operations, infrastructure and services. For information on sustainability in your neighborhood, recycling, green building rebates and more, visit the Office of Sustainability webpage.