Fairfax County is ramping up for a major expansion of solar energy on county buildings, including over 120 government facilities, park facilities, and schools. This is expected to reduce electricity costs by over $60 million and reduce over 1.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over the next 25 years. Through its work with SolSmart, the county was able to review best practices for solar energy adoption and create new tools for community engagement, such as a solar landing page and a residential permitting checklist.
- 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