Solar energy plays a crucial role in helping local governments meet economic development, public health, and sustainability goals. However, obstacles still stand in the way of widespread adoption.

In particular, costs associated with solar PV permitting, installation, inspection, and internal approval processes (often called the soft costs) present a major challenge to local jurisdictions and their residents. Not only have unintended regulatory barriers and process inefficiencies contributed to a 35% price premium for new solar installations in NY, but they also add unnecessary review and approval costs to the jurisdiction.

The Network provides access to experts who develop and deliver training and education programs to help local governments reduce these soft costs, making the adoption of solar energy easier for residents and businesses and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of local policies and approval processes.

Trainings are available (some with continuing education credits) for those involved in solar energy permitting, installation, inspection and approval processes including local policymakers, code enforcement officials, inspectors, engineers, architects, and first responders. The following chart provides examples. Visit the Trainings section for a full list of detailed descriptions and Course and Workshop Calendar for specific dates.

 Training

Audience

Introduction to Solar Policy Workshop

Local public officials who have a role in the planning, permitting, inspection or approval processes for PV systems.

Developing a Solar Strategy

Local public officials who have a role in the planning, permitting, inspection or approval processes for PV systems.

Solar PV Permitting and Inspection Methods

 

Electrical and building code officials, including third-party contract inspectors.

Solar PV for Engineers and Architects,

Architects, engineers, and installers (in some instances).

Safety and Fire Considerations for Solar PV

First responders such as fire fighters and rescue personnel.

Land Use Planning for Solar Energy

Planners, local officials, land use board members, municipal staff, and attorneys.

Zoning for Solar Energy

Planners, local officials, land use board members, municipal staff, and attorneys.

Solar Procurement for Local Governments

Local public officials who play a role in developing policy around solar PV systems.

Introduction to Solarize: Stimulating Local Solar Market Growth

Community-based organizations; municipal representatives with a role in planning or approval processes for solar PV; active citizens, including homeowners and small business representatives interested in solar PV.

Expanding Commercial Solar with a PACE Program

Local public officials and municipal staff who play a role in developing policy around solar PV systems, and municipal attorneys.

Streamlining Solar Permitting

 Planners, building department employees and other local government officials involved in the permitting processes.