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The City of Corinth received a Silver designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar. This designation recognizes Corinth for taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development. For companies looking to expand, a SolSmart Silver designation is a signal that Corinth is “open for solar business.”
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. More than 180 cities, counties, and small towns have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016. The Planning & Development Department submitted an application to become a SolSmart designated city in March 2018. 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.
"We are proud of the steps the Planning & Development Department has taken in becoming involved in sustainability programs this year," stated City Manager Bob Hart. "By adopting solar friendly practices, like streamlining the permitting process and receiving the SolSmart designation, the Department is striving to assist Corinth residents and businesses to access affordable and renewable solar energy to meet their needs."
As a SolSmart designee, Corinth 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 Corinth 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. The City is currently implementing improvements to local processes including solar applications as well as integrating the SolSmart designation goals within the permit process. In connection with this application, the City Council approved an update to the Unified Development Code to permit the installation of attached and detached photovoltaic systems in all districts in the city and to provide zoning standards for the installation of detached photovoltaic arrays.
As part of the SolSmart program, a team of national experts provides no-cost technical assistance to help communities achieve designation. All cities and counties are eligible to join the SolSmart program and receive this technical assistance. Interested communities can learn more at SolSmart.org.