Asheville has established a goal to transition municipal operations to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and has also supported Buncombe County’s community-wide 100% renewable energy goal. To help meet this target, SolSmart worked with Asheville city staff to better integrate solar into the local ordinances and increase efficiency with solar permitting, inspection, and fire safety processes. This builds on the city’s previous accomplishments including a solar group purchasing program in 2013, Solarize Asheville, which resulted in 80 installations.
- Created an online permitting checklist, increasing transparency for community members and solar installers
- Reviewed local zoning codes and identified restrictions that intentionally or unintentionally prohibit solar PV development
- Allowed solar by-right accessory use in all zones (so solar installations don’t require special permits or hearings)
- Cross-trained both inspection and permitting staff on solar PV
- Provided a streamlined permitting pathway for small PV systems
- Created a streamlined process to approve certain solar permit applications over the counter