The City of Goshen has been awarded a Gold Designation from SolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, for taking the important first steps to encourage solar energy growth.
As a SolSmart Gold designee –and first community in Indiana to do so– Goshen is receiving national recognition for adopting programs and practices that make it faster, easier, and cheaper to go solar. A SolSmart designation is a signal that the community is “open for solar business,” helping to attract solar industry investment and generate economic development and local jobs.
“This initiative will help put us at the top tier of communities in Indiana that are striving to become more environmentally friendly,” Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said. “And our efforts shouldn’t stop here. I would like to invite everyone in the community to help us find efficiencies that will continue to benefit our quality of life.”
To achieve a designation, cities and counties take steps to reduce solar “soft costs,” which are non-hardware costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. Examples of soft costs include planning and zoning; permitting; financing; customer acquisition; and installation labor. Soft costs now represent roughly two-thirds of the total price of an installed residential system. Reducing these costs leads to savings that are passed on to consumers.
In Goshen, some of those steps included:
• Creating a landing page with all necessary resources for residents interested in installing solar panels in their properties
• Training all building inspectors to know what to look for in solar panel installations to ensure they are safely installed
• Training all firefighters to learn how to properly disarm solar panel systems in the event of a fire to keep everyone safe
The City of Goshen worked with the Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) and SolSmart Technical Adviser Leah Thill, as well as council members, City staff and residents to receive the SolSmart designation.
Mayor Stutsman commended everyone who took part in every step of the way to lead the City to receive the SolSmart Gold Designation.
“I would like to thank MACOG, SolSmart Technical Adviser Leah Thill, the City Council, staff and residents who participated in these discussions to help us get to this point,” Mayor Stutsman said.
About the Solarize Initiative
The cost of solar has declined by about 30% the past 5 years. To make solar even more affordable, the City of Goshen is organizing a community group-purchasing initiative this summer that would harness the buying power of multiple residents and businesses to receive a discount on the installations. As part of this effort, the City will provide educational workshops to explain the benefits of the technology and how to go solar.
To learn how to go solar, access the Solar Resources information on the City of Goshen website: goshenindiana.org/going-solar-in-goshen
SolSmart is a national designation and technical assistance program that recognizes leading solar communities and empowers additional communities to expand their local solar markets. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, SolSmart strives to cut red tape, drive greater solar deployment, and make it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access solar energy to meet their electricity needs. Learn more at SolSmart.org.
About the SunShot Initiative
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at energy.gov/sunshot.