The City of Raleigh has received a SolSmart Silver designation, recognizing efforts to advance solar power in our community. SolSmart is a national program, funded by the US Department of Energy, that recognizes communities that take steps to foster the growth of solar energy, educate residents about their options, and address barriers, fees and permit processing times for solar installations.
“This designation recognizes the work that the City of Raleigh is doing to build a sustainable future for everyone in our community,” said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “Making solar energy more accessible will help residents reduce their energy costs and their carbon footprint—and move Raleigh toward achieving its climate goals.”
In May 2019, Raleigh’s City Council established a goal of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Energy generation and energy use in buildings makes up 56 percent of Raleigh’s community wide greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy installations, including rooftop and community solar projects will help Raleigh reduce emissions from energy generation.
“Sustainability and climate impact are top concerns, Raleigh’s SolSmart recognition demonstrates the City’s commitment to its climate goals,” said Raleigh’s Planning and Development Director, Patrick Young.
The City of Raleigh continues to streamline its permitting processes for solar energy and other climate-friendly developments through mechanisms like the City's permit portal and the Green Raleigh Review process. Making permitting easier can encourage growth in the renewable energy sectors, job creation, and economic development. The solar energy sector is a leading source of job creation in the US. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs in the sector will grow over 50 percent by 2030, much faster than the average for all other occupations.
Raleigh Sustainability Manager, Megan Anderson said, "This is a big win for the community in our work to implement Raleigh's Community Climate Action Plan. Breaking down barriers to solar access is an important step to addressing not only energy use, our biggest sector of GHG emissions, but also continuing to make clean energy more accessible to everyone and part of Raleigh's economic growth."
The City plans to pursue a SolSmart Gold designation in the coming year.
Raleigh is among over 400 other cities and communities in the US that have achieved a SolSmart designation, including Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs and Morrisville.